One Last Good Time by Michael Kardos


One Last Good Time by Michael Kardos


Winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award for Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-935708-10-0

8.5 x 5.5 paperback

185 pages

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Praise for One Last Good Time

One Last Good Time, a wise and beautifully crafted collection of stories set in the fictional town of Breakneck Beach, New Jersey, is one of the sharpest, funniest, and most compassionate debuts you will ever have the good fortune to read. Without a doubt, Michael Kardos is a truly gifted writer and a vibrant new voice in American letters.”

  —Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff

"In One Last Good Time, Michael Kardos, a writer of exceptionally rare gifts, gives us a Jersey Shore home not only to vengeful ghosts and talking ashes and kidnappers and arm-breaking mobsters, but also—always—to ordinary human beings trying desperately, wryly, to do the best they can. The result is a book that, in story after story, is not only funny, but laugh-out-loud funny; not only poignant, but heart-wrenching. I’ve never read anything quite like it—and I will read it again and again and again."

  —Christopher Coake, author of We’re in Trouble

“The stories in this book will come awfully close to convincing you that you are from the Jersey Shore yourself—they're that specific, that rooted, and that absorbing in the way that only the place you're from yourself can be; they made me nostalgic for a place and way of life I've never known outside these stories. And if all this book did was that, it would be a pretty terrific book. But Kardos' stories go way beyond that, to a place very few writers ever manage to get to: a place of true goodness. There's not a single story here that doesn't peer into its characters' lives, and into their hearts, and remind us that life is good.”

  —Michelle Herman, author of Dog

“Michael Kardos' soulful stories take place in that hard-luck corner of New Jersey where rock and roll dreams crash into blue-collar reality. One Last Good Time is a remarkable debut collection full of stories that are funny and melancholy at the same time.”

  —Tom Perrotta, author of The Abstinence Teacher


About the Author

Michael Kardos co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State University. His short stories were cited as Notable Stories in the 2009 and 2010 editions of Best American Short Stories and have appeared in The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, Blackbird, and many other magazines and anthologies. Kardos grew up on the Jersey Shore, received a degree in music from Princeton University, and for the next decade played the drums in a number of bands, including Thunder Road, “The Ultimate Tribute to Springsteen.” He has an M.F.A. in fiction from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. More information can be found at