The World Is Neither for nor Against You
Corey Mesler

Coming July 2024!

ISBN 978-1-60489-367-2

"I was captivated by Corey Mesler's collection of eclectic and poignant stories. The World is Neither Stacked for Nor Against You is by turns ironic, clever, and heartwarming. Mesler is a truly original writer, and I'll be thinking about this one-of-a-kind book for a long time to come."

-Amy Greene, author of Long Man and Bloodroot


"This book shows a wayfaring imagination at work in story after story: smart, funny, moving and thought-provoking and surprising by turns. Wander through for the kind of grown-up fun that stays with you. It’s a carnival of a book.”

-Richard Bausch, author of Thanksgiving Night and Playhouse





The World is Neither Stacked for Nor Against You is a book of disparate parts, a sort of Frankenstein monster of a collection.  And indeed, there is a monster story, as well as a ghost story, an angel story, a mystical religious story, and a mystical secular story. Some of the work is experimental, some of it is outlandish, and some of it is as simple and comforting as a home-baked pie. Its stories are made of gypsum, bituminous coal, red bricks and whimsy.  They are equal parts crassitude and chimera. The final one, “Publisher,” the book’s longest, concerns a man working for a vanity press who discovers “the real thing,” a novel he is convinced will blast a hole in the complacency of modern literature. About “Publisher,” John Grisham said, “It’s not only funny and clever, it reminded me of the first 80 pages of Sophie’s Choice. Great work.” The stories have previously appeared in The Pinch, Orchid, Ghoti, Gargoyle and other fine periodicals, as well as story collections published by a handful of sincere, frabjous, small presses.



About the Author:
Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and Esquire/Narrative. He has published 8 novels, 5 short story collections, and 5 full-length poetry collections. He is in discussion for a movie version of his last novel, Memphis Movie.  He’s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and 2 of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife he runs a 145 year-old bookstore in Memphis.

Excerpt from Book:

How to be a Man

“And how does it feel to go down into the water with your eyes wide open, and your mouth gaping, so that you can see and taste every inch of the descent?” —Peter Ackroyd

Waiting in his therapist’s office, Rodney Carp was reading a women’s magazine, an article about a man who built an entire home underwater. Because Rodney had lived his life with the name Carp and taken a bloody bruising for it, he was fascinated by all things aquatic.

It reminded him of a childhood storybook called The Fishman Nicolao; it was about a man who could live both on land and underwater.
It was Rodney’s favorite book. He was a reader; he lived in books. This was at a time in human history—the mid-1960s—when it was important that a growing boy be only one thing: tough. Rodney was not tough.
He could not catch a ball and he could not run fast. He dreamed about living underwater like Nicolao because he imagined there he would be free of bullies.

His mother, mousy and slight, a grin like a cringe, was indulgent. Rodney’s father was stoic, like his entire generation, until he grew exasperated with his only child. “Put the goddamn books down and go outside. The boys are playing corkball. Why don’t you join?” A shudder went through Rodney’s slight frame. One day his father came home wearing a self-satisfied smirk. “You wanna read?” he said. “Read this.” And he threw down in front of Rodney a small pamphlet entitled, “How to be a Man.”

Rodney’s heart sunk. His father would never love him.

And here Rodney was, 34 years later, in his therapist’s office, prepared to talk about the dreams he was having about his now deceased father.