Side by Side but Never Face to Face:
A Novella & Stories

by Maggie Kast

178 pp.  /  paper  /  $18.00
Orison Books
Print ISBN: 978-1-949039-08-5
E-book ISBN: 978-1-949039-09-2
Distributed to the trade by Itasca Books
1-800-901-3480  /
Publication Date: June 2, 2020




Side by Side but Never Face to Face asks, Can new love be found in old age? Greta has been wrenched from a long and tightly-circled marriage to Manfred, an Austrian Holocaust survivor. Together they mourned the accidental death of a daughter and experienced a widening of spiritual horizons as they grieved. Shifting between Chicago, Austria, and rural Wisconsin, the present and decades past, these linked narratives unfold the story of Greta—daughter, wife, mother, widow, survivor, and seeker—with profound insight into the emotional conflicts, spiritual yearnings, and everyday experiences that connect us all.




Maggie Kast has a gift for illuminating her characters’ inner lives, and these beautiful stories, as they shuttle gracefully between past and present, Europe and America, strike a profound and satisfying balance between intimacy and mystery. A wise and powerful book.
–Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness and What Belongs to You


Readers looking for a powerful literary collection that takes daily life challenges and moves them outward like a ripple into society and psyche alike will find Side By Side But Never Face to Face a compelling read replete with psychological, spiritual, and cultural strength.
–D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review


To what extent Kast’s stories are true—as in factual—we don’t know. But in Side by Side but Never Face to Face, adjacency to fact is perhaps most interesting to consider as a question of form. At times, Kast’s stories read more as fiction and at other times as nonfiction. In certain passages, deference is given to drama and metaphor, to the lurking discovered truth in fiction, and in other passages, to experience and observation. While this tension can sometimes be unsettling, it is effective in drawing attention to the central question of the collection. That is, how we, as humans, deal in the “the nature of the real,” how we accept and inhabit the present while longing for and needing more: what has been lost, those who are not there, the revelation