Inventive and unsettling, the stories of Stephen Shugart exist in their own hybrid dimension of the familiar and fabulous. Their reach in subject matter is matched by the range of the book’s compelling characters: a man who claims he’s so in love that he can endure putting his face in a table saw; a woman married nine times who can make love happen at will. Time and space here become touchstones of articulated and resonant longings for connection and wholeness. Dark Matter is an exciting and eclectic collection that will jolt you awake. – Steven Schwartz, author of Therapy and A Good Doctor’s Son.
Dark Matter: Stories is a powerful depiction of imagination experienced, a poignant exploration of the intersection of reality and dream and the tenuous division we endeavor to force between them. Shugart’s excellent collection boldly attempts to “peel back the darkness,” to pull back the “invisible drapes that won’t open,” and in so doing, these stories take swipes at the nothingness of modern life and middle-class values, the desperation of Alzheimer’s and divorce, as well as the conflicts and complexities of culture and class, all the while weaving an irresistible narrative that finds glimpses of redemption and light amid the dark matter of our lives. – Robert Gray, author of Drew: Poems from Blue Water and I Wish That I Were Langston Hughes.