- Paperback: 116 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 24, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781542437479
- ISBN-13: 978-1542437479
- ASIN: 1542437474
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,291,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gutter Ball: A Collection of Short Stories Paperback – February 24, 2017
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About the Author
Susan Marie Shuman is a freelance writer and editor who currently resides in the wilds of Birmingham, AL. She shares her life with four spoiled cats, several friends (not all of them imaginary) and one husband. When she's not working, Susan enjoys horseback riding, reading, taking her cats for a spin in their pet stroller, and taking naps. An ex-bartender, recovering crash test dummy and all-around late bloomer, Susan graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2004 with a BA in English. She minored in Russian. Long-range goals include visiting Israel, the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein. Susan is also planning to launch a micronation which would be called either Suzannistan or Eastern Suzanorovia.
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Chapter1: The Longer Stories
Chillin' With Proust
What is the greatest fear of your refrigerator? You probably don't know. Why don't you ask? That is what one interviewer did in this rather frosty interview given by a very cool appliance. But in an interview that didn't give up too many secrets, even this frigid character couldn't preserve its greatest fear. The rather colorful ending describes a new dimension to revenge served cold.
The Welcome Wagon
This story is too sad and horrible to comment on. Passengers begin a journey. Along the way, more and more passengers are added. No one gets off along the way. All arrive at the last stop on the route.
This story is fun to read for the author's use of tongue-in-cheek humor. Dagmar is looking for a long-term relationship and she might have found it with Stanley. She was certain he would never run around on her; she could always count on where he would be. There would be differences as there are in any relationship. Dagmar could see no downside except for some food choices. Watch out for the salad course.
Sometimes even those close to you might forget your birthday or other significant life events. But you would never be sad about this if Kerwyn Argyle was your friend. He would always be with you to the end (and after).
A good breakfast is important as are good habits. A 30-year breakfast of a Southern Comfort Old Fashioned is a good start but it is the extra fruit that keeps the doctor away.
The Palindromic Bubbae
You might not want to meet a waitress like this without a dictionary. This is a meeting between wit and witless with the loser left trying to stretch his imagination to meet the challenge after the winner left the field.
There is a lot of fun wordplay in this story. The reader is invited to explore the many ways meaning can get lost in the translation.
Chasya & Samar
Some think the Arab-Palestinian problem is so large and complex that there are no possible solutions. These two have found a solution that works for them.
Read this story for shock value. No further description will do it justice.
The Book of Samuel
This is a must read for writers who feel themselves to be punctuation challenged. Also, it's funny. Also, writers (and even readers and the general “us”) will learn a brand-new punctuation mark.
Chapter 2: Micro-fiction
This section has too many selections to describe separately. These short bursts of original thought will connect farts and snakes, criticize leisure suits, grieve for frog death, set the limits of bondage, and describe how some people find the guts to do what they have to do. And more. This is a very enjoyable section in which the reader will never know what is coming next.
TB: Pay attention to “Hell on Wheels” and “Other Women.”
Chapter 3: The Wild-Ass Series
This is a continuing story about a homonculus (I had to look it up), a pair of strange brother alchemists, and a cat-dog-cat. My favorite lines from early in the story referred to a conversation between the brothers and their teacher, “"What important lesson did we learn today?" We didn't learn jack shit. "Ummm...no more splitting atoms in class for thermonuclear purposes?" (Kindle locations 674-676).
From this innocent, innocuous beginning, the story got weird. For lovers of visual stimulation, there are weird illustrations/pictures.
To get the most out of this fun, weird read, don't forget the author interview at the end “An Interview With Grammar Ghoul Press.”
Often, we read where someone compares one person and their work to another. If I were to do this, there's something about Susan's work that reminds me of Flannery O'Connor. It's often dark, wholly engrossing, and peppered with a tinge of Southern Gothic. The characters are often deeply flawed or pained, and even in the pieces with the most joyous, upbeat, and fast-paced deliveries, there lingers this darkness that absolutely fascinates and excites me! Every story in this collection took me by surprise. Whether it was the voice used in the piece, the superb twist at the end, or just how much can be said in such few words, every story in this collection had that signature Shuman gut-punch. If you're the type of person who wants to read every book from cover to cover, by all means do so, but you won't lose anything if you simply flip to a page and read it. Each story packs such a wallop that I found myself reading some pieces over and over.
Included in this collection are short stories, pieces of micro-fiction (which are typically around or less than 100 words), and a series of short stories and micro-fiction that Susan has been writing for some time now: the Wild-Ass series, which I highly suggest you read. These guys are hysterical and each story is so solidly told that it made me want to read more about them.
Should you get this book? Yes! Absolutely, yes!
Within Susan Shuman is a real novel, and the Pulitzer Committee and I will be waiting for it when it comes out. I hope it has a happy ending.