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A Jello Horse

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Fiction. When his new roommate's brother dies tragically, the unnamed narrator of A JELLO HORSE offers to drive him home to the Midwest. Feeling anxious and displaced, he embarks on another roadtrip to visit the bizarre attractions and quirky museums in America's heartland. "Matthew Simmons has found a beautiful and extraordinary way to tell a story about the sweetness of ...more
Paperback, 67 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Publishing Genius
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  136 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
You are given a small, thin book by AEB. AEB is your wife and she often gives you good things to read. AEB explains that the book, while it has no pictures, is very short and therefore perfect for you. You thank her and begin to read it. You are a bedtime reader and so you find it hard to get through more than 20 or 30 pages a night. Even at that it, the book is so small you finish it in 3 days.

Overall you find the book to be a bit pretentious and over-thought. You find the use of tense to be a
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  (Review from the author)
Is it wrong that I rated my book? Is it okay that I only gave it four stars? Does that make stuff better?

Probably not. I like this book, though. I like that I wrote it. I like how it came out. I'd also like to know what you think.
Sabra Embury
May 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing

Matthew Simmons’ delicate prose in his book “A Jello Horse” is a
wondrous read on a quiet night within an hour of lying around
relaxing. After reading each pretty paragraph, going back and reading
it again out loud is recommended to add to the magic of listening to
the unraveling of a heart-touching story of a man dealing with a
traumatic suicidal event affecting himself and his closest friends. On
the road, we observe his recollections of past love’s failures. We ...more
May 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alive
Q: What is lonelier than feeding a herd of sickly jackalopes the day after finding you have genital warts?
A: The 1 phone in the House of 2000 Phones that has never rung.

It would be really nice to see a sequel, or 2 more novellas smashed onto the end.

I'd recommend it to any fan of Jean-Philippe Toussaint.

Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've been meaning to read this for much longer than it took to read, but it will stay with me for
much longer than I waited.
Ampersand Books
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Finding a great book from a small press is a lot like finding a great B movie. Some of them are crap; quite a few are surprisingly okay, though not outstanding, if you’re open to something a little different; but every so often one comes along that is so good one can’t help but wonder why it isn’t a New York Times Bestseller. Well, of course, it isn’t a Bestseller because Bestsellers are almost always terrible books in the same way that quintuple platinum albums are terrible; they’re not meant t ...more
Justin Sirois
Jun 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Altogether heartbreaking and profoundly generous, A Jello Horse captures the uncertainty of surviving your 20's without losing your imagination in the process. You see enormous animals devouring Madison, Wisconsin. You see death and abuse and the unfettered love of friends. Mathew Simmons' compact sentences churn with emotional vigor that will make you think, "I remember that,"... though maybe you really don't. But that's ok. A phone is ringing and someone is waiting to talk to you.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just read this for the second time in a few days (the first time was not in one sitting, which really is the best way to read this book). Everyone should read this book. I only wish it were in libraries across America (the fact that it's not in the Seattle Public Library leads me to assume that it's not in most libraries) in order to give more people the opportunity. I would really like to visit the house of 2000 telephones.
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
honestly these things about no idea i have
Andrew G
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't place my finger on why I am so drawn to this quirky little book. It kind of reminded me of those independent movies I would watch in the 1990s while I was in university. They were the type of movies that would make my mind wonder as I made sense of the plot and then minutes after they ended, I would reflect on the enjoyment of the experience. I don't know if that makes any sense to anyone but I really enjoyed this book....well worth spending a rainy afternoon reading.
Steven Werber
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
An almost poetic story of memory, grieving and loneliness.....
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this book in one sitting, as recommended on the cover of the edition I received, but I failed because life happened soon after I picked it up to begin. So I read A Jello Horse in two sittings. I will pick it back up someday and read it all at once, which I really do believe is the best way to read it so you can stay immersed in the feeling it evokes and invokes.

Since I had no idea what I was in for, the surrealism struck me from the beginning. I must admit I probably
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
While I'm a sucker for a detached narrator, surrealism, and dream states, I like this book as much for the language - similar in style to the slacker poetry of a Tao Lin, but maybe more poetic - as for the weirdness and existentialism. I read it in the Portland airport at 11pm. If you can arrange to read it there, I recommend it. It is about being in transit, and the venue of an airport (and one would assume a train or bus station, the back of a taxi, or on horseback would work as well) seems to ...more
Melanie Page
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
The story took me in a lot of directions I appreciated and enjoyed, but I wanted to live in those moments and see where they took me before moving on. I loved the House wtih 2000 phones. This concept alone could have benn the focus of the whole book. I also wanted to know more about the animals that follow the main character.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
more a short story than a novel at 67 pages. this story in the second person tells of a road trip to a roommate's brothers funeral in Nebraska. when the funeral proves too much he goes on his own road trip and visits a raft of bizarre roadside attractions including the house of 2000 telephones.
I was surprised at how engrossing this short piece of fiction became
May 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: novella
The house of 2000 telephones at the end was quite cool and I wish that had been given more space. Good arc and the road trip revved things up from the early slowness. The all caps for character names was a bit weird and added to the detachment, which was perhaps the idea, but it kept pushing me out of the story.
Matt Briggs
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
A bit of American-Surrealism about depressed young adults in the Mid-West. House of 2000 telephones is great. Reminds me a lot of The Dream Life of Balso Snell by N.West. Book has energy from being written quickly (and clearly), but I wonder if a more calculated plan and elaboration and development of the episodes might have made the book better. It wasn't bad, just kind of slight.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book had some decent elements (unusual roadside attractions and a vivid way of depicting being in the presence of extreme grief) but overall it felt disjointed and too angst-y for my tastes. It strives for a Surrealist feel but winds up being fragmented and heavy.
Julie Gengo
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
A novella that reminds me of Drug Store Cowboy in a way. Its not about drugs but has that same somber sensibility that is embedded in the entire story. The writer's upfront style of piecing together the emotions is moving and at times hard to read, but well worth the reading.
May 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
It started a little sluggish for me but as the story gets more surreal, it also gets more engaging. The House of 2000 Telephones is worthy of its own novella. Maybe a sequel? The oddness of the 2nd half of the book somehow (brilliantly) gives the melancholy of the narration a lingering heaviness.
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomchoice
Beautiful language and emotion.
Rick Claypool
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
a nice little palate cleanser of a novella
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: small-press
Review forthcoming...
Dec 31, 2009 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Oriana by: Kevin
from Kevin Sampsell, via Huffington Post: An odd little road story, complete with surreal roadside attractions and a melancholy tone that will pleasantly haunt you when it's all over.
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tapers into a prism, separates the light into the visible spectrum, then simply turns off the light, leaves the room, quietly closes the door.
Andy X L
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is pretty interesting. Super short. Read it in like 30 mins. It's the first story I ever read that's written entirely in the second person. It's pretty funny and enjoyable.
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Liked this book for maybe 40-50 pages. Loved the last ten pages.
Adam Graffunder
May 13, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this. I was surprised by how good an idea the two sections I heard before reading the book myself gave me of the entire work. Will read more from Matthew.
Frances Dinger
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Probably my favorite chapbook that I read this year.
Sam Pink
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
it's like the RCP90 gun in Goldeneye.
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I live in Seattle. I write. I edit the Instant Future eBook series. I had a cat. I wrote for HTML Giant. I edited interviews for Hobart.
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