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Drowning in Gruel Paperback – June 5, 2006


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Drowning in Gruel + Why Dogs Chase Cars: Tales of a Beleaguered Boyhood, Expanded Edition (Southern Revivals) + The Half-Mammals of Dixie
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (June 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156030616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156030618
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,768,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Singleton returns to the small South Carolina town where he set his acclaimed first novel, Novel, for this delightfully obsessive collection of stories, which reads like a group celebration of the excess and eccentricities found in the tiny Southern hamlet of Gruel. The only common element: a shared preoccupation with staying put in, getting out of, coming home to and passing through Gruel. From the owner of Roughhouse Billiards, who sells hot dogs, to the proprietor of the army-navy surplus store, who hawks gas masks as Valentine's Day gifts, the citizens of Gruel form a backdrop against which the more transient characters—the women's studies major who visits to compete in the town's car decorating contest; the freelance indexer fired for listing Republicans under "Idiotic behavior"—stand out in sharper relief for their quirky loneliness and creative longings. Singleton is so careful to include references to Southern literary life and the short story form that some exchanges feel rigged, but in the book's quiet moments, his people hit a tragicomic zenith. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Usually stories about small, quirky, southern towns are full of adorable, quirky characters that share their unusual philosophies with us and teach us how to enjoy life (think Forrest Gump or even Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). Gruel may be small, southern, and quirky, but it is also as miserable as its name sounds. The inhabitants are miserable. Even people from as far away as New York who happen to stop by Gruel are miserable. There are miraculous dogs, which die. Fun-sounding car-art shows during which people are maimed, and many more normal kinds of misery. The misery that pervades almost every story in this collection and Singleton's unique style act as a literary train wreck; you may want to stop reading, but you are compelled not to. Fortunately, the writing is good enough that the misery becomes somehow enjoyable. Marta Segal
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sean Nolan on July 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
If that ain't a description of all of the people "Drowning in Gruel," then I don't know what is... After his foray into the Novel, George has returned to his roots...

If you're a fan, you will recognize a lot of the characters in this collection, and if you're just starting with George, this'll be a great beginning... I know I've said that every previous book has been the best so far, and I meant it!

George Singleton just keeps getting better, and proving his mastery of the short story, and the novel, with every new book!

George, we're still waiting for the book of prose...

Sean
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew J. Tumey on August 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is full of whacky, funny short stories that gently poke fun at the sleepy, small, southern, ficticious town of Gruel, South Carolina.

I enjoyed this collection because, having spent most of my life living in the deep south, I have an appreciation of the absurd and this book serves up heaping helpings of it.

Singleton's ability to create rediculous situations with a deadpan delivery makes the read quite fun.

Also the stories are rich with authentic details that ring true of the southern personality.

So put a flamingo in your front yard and read Drowning in Gruel!
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By mirth on March 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of 19 short stories is a fast and fun read. Singleton's characters have a Brautigan-like wackiness that I find very entertaining. My favorite story was "The Opposite of Zero". Curious? Read it. You'll like it.
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