Electric Literature is pleased to reveal the cover for the short story collection The Goodbye Processby Mary Jones, which will be published by Zibby Books on July 30th, 2024. Preorder the book here.

In this stunning debut short story collection, Mary Jones uses her distinctive voice to examine the painful and occasionally surreal ways we say goodbye. The stories—which range from poignant, to darkly funny, to unsettling—will push you out of your comfort zone and ignite intense emotions surrounding love and loss. A woman camps out on the porch of an ex-lover who has barricaded himself inside the house; a preteen girl caught shoplifting finds herself in grave danger; a man hires a professional mourner to ensure his wife’s funeral is a success. Time and again, Jones’s characters find themselves facing the ends of things: relationships, health, innocence, life as they know it. The stories gathered in this collection are arresting, original, and beautifully rendered. The Goodbye Process packs a punch, just the way grief does—knocking us off our feet.

Here is the cover, designed by Anna Morrison.

Author Mary Jones: “I was hoping the cover would be minimalistic and beautiful, with a hint of quirkiness. I think this cover perfectly embodies those things, and more. I love the clean design, and the color palette which feels both sophisticated and playful. I like that the cover image is not explicit, but is open for interpretation, and everyone I’ve shown it to has had something different to say about it. To me it suggests that a conversation is happening, and maybe one person—the person with the colder cup—has been talking for a while, opening up. In all of the stories in the collection characters are at various stages of letting go of things—relationships, health, life as they know it. I feel like with this colder cup, and with the upward spiraling steam, Anna captures the feeling here that something is being released, let go of.”

Designer Anna Morrison: “Working on a collection of short stories can sometimes be a challenge, especially when trying to encapsulate a feeling that encompasses a range of different narratives. However, Mary Jones’s collection, The Goodbye Process, has a strong, overarching theme of loss and grief, with some humor intertwined in the writing. I also wanted to convey a sense of intimacy on the cover but with an unspoken loneliness, too. There are a lot of different perspectives in this collection, but I felt like the steaming cups of coffee could be the background to many difficult (or happy) conversations.”

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