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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,749 ratings  ·  332 reviews
A searing new collection from the inimitable Amelia Gray

A woman creeps through the ductwork of a quiet home. A medical procedure reveals an object of worship. A carnivorous reptile divides and cauterizes a town. Amelia Gray’s curio cabinet expands in Gutshot, where isolation and coupling are pushed to their dark and outrageous edges. These singular stories live and breathe
Paperback, 209 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Fsg Originals (first published March 3rd 2015)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,749 ratings  ·  332 reviews

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May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hey-shorty, pagehabit
jeff vandermeer's drawing of this cover:

 photo IMG_2106_zpsvi3rbgdz.jpg

to answer the question “how does this book hold up to Threats or Museum of the Weird,” this is better than Museum of the Weird, but not nearly as good as Threats.

which is absolutely in keeping with my own particular reading preferences, as Threats is a novel and Museum of the Weird is an earlier story collection, and i’ll pretty much always choose a novel over a collection. i’ve grown as a reader - after prolonged resistance, i eventually came around to
Kevin Kelsey
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: _library, read-2017
Posted at Heradas Review

"Here, the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom, and that road is paved with handjobs."

I've found that these FSG Originals are at the very least, always something unique that you might not find published elsewhere. They have the feel of something published by a much smaller press like Tin House, Two Dollar Radio, or Coffee House Press. This means that they're usually going to be divisive as well. But, when their niche lines up with yours, it's like a curator
Paul Bryant
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book has the most beautiful cover I have seen in many a year.

But what’s inside? Contextless fragments of violent American lives, one after another, 37 of them, tiny bits and pieces. You can stumble over some great paragraphs here & there, like this one when a woman tells her boyfriend she’s pregnant and that her parents will be very happy:

“Here’s the thing, though,” he said. “Your folks are dead. And I have a warrant out for my arrest. And you’re forty years old. And I am addicted to
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
Gutshot. A bullet in the gut.

I've seen enough old Westerns to know that in earlier eras a gutshot was the harbinger of a grim, 2-3 day demise caked in blood and shit, a nugget of lead having tumbled through one's viscera, ripping, tearing, perforating but missing the organs that offer a mercifully quick death. Even today it's no trivial matter, and likely to leave it's recipient needing long-term serious medical care.

Considering that, this book is well named - Amelia Gray's Gutshot is by turns
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Strange, intricate stories with absolutely gorgeous and controlled language. Had to read this twice and it was so much more nuanced and powerful on the second reading.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
One of my presents from AWP! I should have finished this a week ago, but I heard about the leak of the first four episodes of the new Game of Thrones season, and spent several of my reading hours meditating on that terrible tragedy, not reading this awesome story collection, planning my month-long G.O.T. hunger-strike, wishing I hadn't done that to myself...

I don't really have a review in me this morning, but I did feel compelled to jump on here and advise you against unquestioningly believing
Khashayar Mohammadi
I remember absolutely loving this book when I first read it; but somehow after the initial shock of the short stories wears off, about half of the short stories feel somewhat abandoned. I understand the sheer absurdity and non-conformist approach to literature, but still, having kept that in mind, about half of the short stories came across as "napkin ideas" that the author ended up abandoning halfway.

I still think its a great book and I still recommend it to lovers of short stories, since I
xTx xTx
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
i know i've fallen in love with a book when i want to punch the author in the face and then make out with them and their hot blood.

so, fuck you amelia gray. fuck you.

so much punching.

so much make out.
Kevin Maloney
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Only two things in this world scare me: cancer and Amelia Gray.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I wish I had a dog better express my feelings.

There are too many stories in this collection of ‘flash fictions’ to be put under a common theme. For the most part, these characters are pushed away from their ordinary circumstances and cast into strange and closed off lives, of which they accept almost too readily.


After they lose their mom and wife, a family’s emotions cause a gigantic heart to plop itself in the middle of the TV room. They begin to chop it up into little pieces so
Richard  Thomas
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amelia makes me laugh, she makes me cry, she gets me to think, and worry, and speculate. She's a brilliant writer, and this collection challenges the reader in so many way. LOVED IT.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I have opinions about swans. There were two of them ("Romeo" and "Juliet", ugh) at my college. They lived on a pond directly between the town and the dorms so that late at night, staggering home, one would be confronted with their yellow, spectrish figures, looming out of the darkness, lifting their wings and hissing and galumphing at one. They were murderous beasts, Swans of the Baskervilles, and I wished they would respect their namesakes enough to die.

Many fools think swans are pretty, so
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I received a copy of this from Edelweiss prior to its publication date.

The writing is strong in these stories but the subject matter makes me want to warn people away. Each story has a murder or a rape, and it seems to be more for the shock value. I wish I'd encountered Amelia Gray in an earlier volume, because from the reviews it sounds like the stories had violence in them but were not pure violence. But after this experience I am unlikely to pick up another.

So either this is "not my thing"
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Initially when I read this collection (in 2014 I think), I gave it 4 stars because I thought a couple of the stories fell a little short of gutshotting me. However, there are a few that have stayed in my mind with not much of a lessening of residual visceral impact, and when a collection of stories overall has that powerful of a lingering echo in your brain, it fully deserves 5 stars.
Luke B.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing

takes a short short story form and turns it
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Small bursts of magic. Odd and multi-faceted interpretations of life.
Lark Benobi
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm exhilarated by Amelia Gray's writing. I'm happy to be reading something so new and unexpected. I literally don't know how any of her sentences is going to end--her choices are unpredictable, disturbing, magnificent. These are unsafe stories, at times so absurdly violent that I'm never sure if I should laugh. But they do make me laugh.

Here is a passage from the middle of my favorite story in the collection, "Labyrinth:"

--Knowing what he put into it, I thought it was a shame to stand by and
Robert Vaughan
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was so looking forward to reading this, and it does not disappoint. It does about everything else a reader can imagine: I laughed aloud numerous times, the bizarre twists of phrases kept me rapt, the unusual characters, and nauseating circumstances made me dizzy with glee. It's a collection of stories that begs to be read more than once. And I will!
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love how unique this book is, and, as far as I'm concerned, it lives up to all its hype.
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: experimentalists, new adventure seekers
Recommended to Amy by: altTOB
Reading this felt like sitting at the foot of an insane person expecting some moment of epiphany from their connection to the “other” only to realize they are just stuck in a broken and off-kilter loop that is otherwise unremarkable. My favorite type of short stories sketch out something instantly recognizable in a very few sentences. With a simple exchange of dialogue one instantly ascertains the current state of a relationship and can guess at some of the history or with a twist of visual ...more
Chris Blocker
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This was my first run in with Amelia Gray, but I sort of knew what to expect from her: dark, strange, talented. No doubt, all those things are true.

Some of the stories in Gutshot really evoke the macabre of greats like Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allan Poe. There's just enough detail in these stories to make them creepy, yet universal and accessible. I got the sense that Gray really enjoys getting into her stories and characters.

Then there are those stories in this collection that are strange, yet
Bud Smith
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Damn. Solid. Equal turns violent/visceral and utter magic candy. Gunshot is a collection of short stories that plays with a feeling of ultimate nightmare as written in realistic hops skips and jumps, where you might be just on the verge of waking up but then are swept back into a terrible/lovely fog (depending on how tough you are).

Overall, a brilliant assembly of unpredictable chunks of storytelling that amazed in their wonder and amazed too in their horror, blood, puke, flayed skin,
Book Riot Community
This book is an overwhelming one. The effect of the writing in this short story collection catches you completely off guard in its intensity. The clarity and simplicity of the writing nearly masks the great depth of the messages here. It is impossible to forget the piece about a woman who is oiled and then locked into the ductwork of a house. She pulls herself along as the couple who owns the house keep track of their prisoner. It is eerie.The text has such ease. I walked away from reading this ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love everything I get to read by Gray, but the power in these stories turns that love into a hushed awe of reverence. The imagination and strangeness I hope for from Gray is amply there, but these stories are so much more unsettling than I expected, wilder. It's almost dangerous, because I get the feeling that I can't be entirely sure that the stories mean me well. More than just stunned, I was shaken. Shaken thoroughly enough that I'd have trouble explaining. It was wonderful.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
For me, giving a short story collection 4 stars is like giving a normal book 5 stars.
I usually don't like short stories, but these were very good and I didn't get frustrated like I usually do while reading shorts.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Gray’s 37 short stories and flash fiction display her visceral and bizarre style teeming with unique and thought provoking ideas.

“In the Moment”
A couple lives together, practicing mindfulness, only to find a sense of emptiness. 4/5

“House Heart”
A couple pays for a girl to inhabit the ductwork of their home. This bizarre story looked at characters who felt they couldn’t deal with reality, so in their own game, House Heart, find a sense of security. 4/5

“The Lark”
A man who vomits after every
Rachel León
I'm completely torn as to whether give this book four stars or five, but I'm rounding up because holy shit Amelia Gray's mind is out of this world. Her imagination and writing are almost unreal.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Blistering –the kind of blisters you want to pop for the sick satisfaction of an explosion of your bodies' illness. Bloody –like that nosebleed you had that you just watched drip down your face in the mirror, tasting the iron red of yourself. Joyous – because once you've let go of your boundaries, once the body becomes open and porous and wounded, you've got only yourself to explore. Words like "wild" and "horror" come to mind.

Amelia Gray's fiction took me when I started to read "The Swan as
B. Rule
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Had I reviewed this book within the first few stories, it would have gained a couple stars. Initially, I was impressed with the surreal, nightmare quality of the pieces. However, the more I read, the more I realized why I responded to it: Gray writes stories like I did (or at least thought I did and wanted to) when I was a teenager. Stories that are built up out of disparate, often violent or disturbing images, with jumps of dream-logic that take Kafka and crank up the absurdity, with black ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, short-stories

Many of my favorite stories explore themes of otherness, shadow selves, and the darkness within. I believe making these explorations is integral to the human experience if we are to truly understand ourselves and those around us. Amelia Gray writes stories that on the surface look poised to excavate in this direction, but ultimately fail to reveal much. The writing feels like it's creating darkness for its own sake, which may work for others, but not for me. Generally I like my darkness served
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Goodreads Librari...: Award Edit 5 20 Jun 25, 2017 12:59PM  
Tournament of Books: This topic has been closed to new comments. Gutshot: Stories, by Amelia Gray 22 60 Jan 03, 2016 05:30PM  

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Amelia Gray is a writer living in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of five books, most recently ISADORA. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker and VICE.
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“My mind was once diseased with the strange and heady ambition that I might somehow improve the world by living in it.” 7 likes
“Emily taught him to view each day as a wild element divorced from past and future.” 5 likes
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