Welcome to Sugarville
by J. J. Haas
Lanier Press

"Retrieving his loaded rifle from the gun cabinet, he locked the back door behind him and returned to the bunker, which was now completed and fully stocked with supplies."

The citizens of Sugarville, GA aren't bad people. They're just… misled. Everyone in this quiet, Atlanta suburb has his or her own demons to chase and shadows to flee. The stories in this collection examine the lives of each "Sugarvillian" in turn, sharing a bit about what it means to be human in the process. The tales use odd situations—a never-ending wait for a doctor who may or may not exist, a man who wakes up to find there's no water left anywhere—to put humanity on full, sometimes uncomfortable display. How would you react in case of an emergency? What do you really mean to the people around you? These stories examine the worst (and, sometimes, the best) in people and show what happens when emotions, thoughts, and obsessions are allowed to run unchecked.

Although Sugarville doesn't actually exist, the people who live there could very well be real. The author breathes life into his neurotic characters and places them in situations where they are tested—and often fail. Though the events described are generally unusual, the way the characters react to them is highly relatable. The author does a fantastic job of getting into people's heads, using psychology to examine how different people react in various situations, how we process the world and the information around us, and, ultimately, what can make someone snap. Through clear and highly effective writing, each self-contained story shines on its own. Together, they display humanity's collective dirty laundry. Sometimes dark, usually unsettling, the writing seeps with irony and despair, focusing on the dark space where our minds and hearts meet but don't always agree. NOTE: The book is pleasingly tactile with a cover like velvet!

Return to USR Home