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The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide by Schuler Benson

The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide: Stories by Schuler Benson The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide header banner

The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide
Stories by Schuler Benson

The Poor Man's Guide to an Affordable Painless Suicide cover artwork

Luminaire Prose Award silver logo and link

“Schuler Benson writes like the spawn of Chuck Palahniuk and Barry Hannah. Read this damn book.”
—Kody Ford,
Editor-in-chief of The Idle Class



Twelve stories, fraught with an unapologetic voice of firsthand experience, that pry the lock off of the addiction, fanaticism, violence, and fear of characters whose lives are mired in the darkness of isolation and the horror and the hilarity of the mundane. This is the Deep South: the dark territory of brine, pine, gravel, and red clay, where pavement still fears to tread.

Illustrated throughout by artists Ryan Murray and Patrick Traylor.

“A Hindershot of Calion”: Second-place winner of the 2015 Luminaire Prose Award
“The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide”: Fifth-place winner of the 2015 Luminaire Prose Award
“Ole Hazel”: Finalist in the 2015 Luminaire Prose Award

Content warnings: suicide, drug use, domestic violence

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Praise for The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide


“Schuler Benson has a playwright’s ear for dialogue, a poet’s eye for scene, and a comic’s sense for when the sane is actually crazy, the crazy actually sane. The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide announces Benson’s place in the tradition of Wells Tower, Barry Hannah, and Mark Twain: here comes another great documentarian of the agonized and hilarious souls who inhabit Rural America.”
—Brian Ted Jones,
Electric Literature



“Schuler Benson writes like the spawn of Chuck Palahniuk and Barry Hannah. While approaching his subjects with empathy, humor, and a keen eye for detail, he creates a world of snake-charming preachers, meth heads, and spurned lovers. This collection will make you laugh, make you anxious, and keep you turning the pages. Read this damn book.”
—Kody Ford,
Editor-in-Chief of The Idle Class



“A Breece D’J Pancake of the plains, Benson writes with a hell of a knack for dialect. His characters are dirty, flawed, and all-too familiar. There are no heroes here. Yet in these stories, Benson manages to lift his people to another plane; someplace where they might achieve a little redemption.”
—Eric Shonkwiler,
author of Above All Men, Moon Up, Past Full, and 8th Street Power & Light



“Schuler Benson’s writing is a record scratch, a fat marker graffiti-squeaking across a perfectly clean bathroom wall, a porcupine in a studded leather jacket. The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide is a violent, bloody heartbeat of a collection—a flashing red siren of words—a hot, stinging slap of stories.”
—Leesa Cross-Smith,
author of Every Kiss a War



The Poor Man’s Guide is a portrait of people contending with death, the possibility of death, and, ultimately, the lives they’ve made for themselves. Each story opens intimately–every landscape, every character becomes familiar. Reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor at her best, this is a collection that is at once beautiful and uncomfortable, pushing the reader from one page to the next and deeper still into each of the lives encapsulated here. Benson opens a window. Benson opens a door. A killer read.”
—Kat Dixon,
author of Here/Other



“Schuler Benson’s debut hits the reader like a blow to the chest by a large stone. The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide is full of longing characters who wield knives and raise hell. Benson’s world is packed with grit, with pain, with prose that cuts to the bone.”
—Keith Rebec,
editor at Pithead Chapel



“Schuler Benson understands tone. Like a Coen brothers script, his stories are a little serious, a little funny, and a little underwritten; his prose wants you to feel clever when you pick up on the other half of what it implies. The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide should be a delight for smart readers, especially those who cope with the South through a sardonic sense of humor.”
—Kevin Snow,
author of Matul Remrit and The Domovoi

About The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide

• Fiction: Short Stories
• Published by Alternating Current Press
• 5” x 8” Perfectbound Trade Paperback
• Cream Paper, 146 Pages
• Also available in PDF Digital Format
• Print ISBN-13: 978-0692251195
• Print ISBN-10: 0692251197
• First Edition: July 29, 2014
• Cover Artwork and Interior Illustrations by Ryan Murray
• Interior Illustrations by Patrick Traylor
Permalink | Short URL: tinyurl.com/thepoormansguide
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The Poor Man's Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide

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Click here to view/download hi-resolution interior illustration by Ryan Murray.

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Reviews & mentions for The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide



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About author Schuler Benson


SCHULER BENSON’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Kudzu Review, Hobart, The Idle Class, The Pinch, Little Fiction, and elsewhere. He has been nominated for a Best of the Net Award, a Million Writers Award, and three Pushcart Prizes, and he placed second in The Fallen Sky Review’s 2013 Speculative Fiction Launch Contest. He completed his undergraduate studies at University of Arkansas and received his MA from Coastal Carolina University. The Poor Man’s Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide is his first book. You can find him on Twitter at @schulerbenson.




About illustrators Ryan Murray and Patrick Traylor

Cover artwork and interior illustrations by Ryan Murray.
Interior illustrations by Patrick Traylor.










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