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Short Story Collection Review   

 

 
Opposable Thumbs
by Suzanne Hudson
Livingston Press, 2001
ISBN: 0-942979-81-8
 
 
 
Twenty five years ago, Suzanne Hudson won Penthouse's new writer's award in a contest judged by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and Toni Morrison. After a lengthy hiatus spent working as a guidance counselor in the Alabama state school system, Ms. Hudson is writing and publishing again. Her work has appeared in: Penthouse, New Writers, Eastern Shore Quarterly, and The Southern Bard.  In addition to the Penthouse Award, she has also won a Hackney Award from Birmingham-Southern for her short fiction.

Opposable Thumbs is a distinctively, determinedly, regional collection of short stories filled with characters whose names include: "Little Bit," "Eustas Bland," "Donny Ray" and "Marble". They inhabit small Alabama towns only accessible by two-lane roads littered with beer cans. Trips to Ruby Falls and Florida are often the high-points in the lives of people who work
as carpenters' aides, in the coal mines, and as domestics. Country music serves as a backdrop to their lives.

The class lines that exist in small towns intersect in "Jesus, Sex and Sweet Tea". The author tells the story of sex, sin, and salvation through the eyes of three women -- an unnamed Pentecostal woman who refers to sex as "that funky, monkey Pentecostal love thing," a rich Catholic turned Episcopal who calls herself a "grande dame," and an African-American woman who has "enjoyed the love of a good man" while working as a domestic. The three women are connected by Gordon Pugh who married the Pentecostal woman after getting her
pregnant in his pick-up truck. Five children later, when he meets a rich woman driving a Lincoln Town Car at the Piggly Wiggly who notices "Years of manual labor have been kind to this man's body", his "low down" impulses are stirred. The author only hints at the collision course to come.

Suzanne Hudson has lived in Alabama most of her life. Opposable Thumbs is her first collection of short stories. Ms. Hudson is currently working on a novel.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

2002 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved