with a vengeance, these stories soak the reader in atmosphere as thoroughly as
might a river baptism. And while this atmosphere is often enough silt-laden and
gritty, it always moves one right along with the characters, whether they’re
walking a hot two-lane or tossing out beer cans at someone walking. Thomas
Merton wrote that he admired Flannery O’Connor’s writing, but then wondered
why she had to make her characters so despicable before their moment of grace.
Hudson has transferred the moment of grace into a secular insight, and this
might in part explain why her characters—well, they still aren’t
particularly likable—are at least understandable and pitiable in their
sore-beset ways. So understandable that this collection could serve up a good
start for any inquiry into social/psychological deviance.
ISBN 978-0-942979-81-7 paper, $12.95 Sale $6.50
ISBN 978-0-942979-82-4 cloth, $27.00 Sale $13.50
Suzanne Hudson is a guidance counselor in the Alabama school system. She has lived in Alabama nearly all her life. This is her first collection. Her story “La Prade” won the Penthouse new writer competition nearly twenty years ago, and now Suzanne has taken up her pen—her computer—again to write more winning, moving stories.
| Excerpt From the
Lacey was twelve years old the summer Leo Tolbert carelessly took up a sharp
hatchet, chopped off his five-year-old brother Cooter’s thumb, and threw it up
on the sloping tin roof of the jailhouse. Over the sweltering days that
followed, Kansas, Leo, and his twin sister Roxy watched the tiny appendage go
from orange to blue-green to black against hot silver, swirling small currents
and sprinklings of decaying scents down to the scrubby back yard of the
Blackshear County Jail. It was on a Thursday. It was 1962.