Bean Spiller

Susco takes us to hell and back and sings her own mysteries in this fierce, spare, courageous, poetic rendering of a life and lives lived on the mental edge.

Catherine Gammon, author of China Blue, Sorrow, and Isabel Out of the Rain

“I step on glass and the blood refracts the light in me”; These linked essays dramatize the struggle of a mind to hold onto its light the way the body holds onto its blood. Through searing images and musically shifting rhythms, Susco’s prose brings forth the remarkable inner life of her narrator: the fixation on symbols that refuse to cohere—red trucks, blue poles, a bright white arc peering through black; her friendship with a boy who may not be real; her battle against personal Furies—internal voices that seek to control her. Yet we see the narrator defy this destiny, through the lucidity of her questioning and through her poignant determination to “make it” and tell her story. This is a beautiful and gripping collection, one that might speak to any of us who struggle to find coherence in a world of overload.

Barbara Edelman, author of Dream of the Gone-From City

An original voice, bold, tender, gorgeous with imagery. Susco’s stories cast a probing light on the experience of mental illness and lead us, stunningly and heart wrenchingly, through rooms of memory both imagined and real to a place of hope and clarity. I’d follow her voice anywhere.

Keely Bowers, winner of the Nelson Algren Award

Susco is a poet of the paragraph and the page, revealing the intimacies of what a life with mental illness makes of a woman and what a woman makes of it. There is no posturing here. Susco encompasses each story with the full authority of her well-honed writerly skills and the knowledge of exactly how she arrived at this telling. Bean Spiller is an unflinching excavation of childhood memories and an adult reckoning of both past and present told with such honesty it almost hurts to bear witness.

Maria McLeod, author of Mother Want

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Susco writes to both the mentally ill and those who have no experience with the ill to illuminate, heal, and come to terms. From various perspectives, Susco weaves a portrait that is evocative and meaningful in a collection that deals with how mental illness is experienced and how it is passed down generation to generation. It’s about how it is made peace with, dealt with, and ultimately how it is  endured. Bean Spiller is an important statement, fighting the good fight against suffering and stigma and fighting for a new, better way to see mental illness.

36 pages in a 6″x9″ paperback.