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Publisher's Summary

In his three novellas, In Short Measures, Strong Conspirators, and Sally Forth, Michael Ruhlman delves deeply into the nuanced complexity of romantic and sexual love - and the inevitable evolution of the heart over the span of years and decades. Each novella asks questions about the nature of love in terms of loyalty and fidelity - what are one's obligations toward one's spouse, one's family, and one's heart?

In the first novella, In Short Measures, these questions are bound up in a writer's work and a long-ago love. In the second, Strong Conspirators, an unforeseen, cataclysmic event calls for responses from a husband and wife that have never been rehearsed because they have never been required nor even imagined. In Sally Forth, a pair of old friends is forced to explore lost youth and lost love relative to maturity, marriage, and the passage of time.

Profoundly thought provoking and satisfying, these novellas are beautifully written, with plot twists from beginning to end that will captivate the listener.

©2015 Michael Ruhlman (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A propulsively well-written trio of novellas linked by a sense of loss and an inquiry into the impossible past." (Kate Christensen)

What listeners say about In Short Measures

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Heartbreaking

I was looking for something to listen to while painting my house. The sadness kind-of overcame me despite the fact that I am an upbeat person. I thought the writing was good It just becomes a part of you. You walk away almost wishing you’ve never met these people because you can’t help them. I’ll start my painting tomorrow.

5 people found this helpful

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achingly lovely

Achingly lovely accounts of the complexities and dimensions of love. This book is important, comforting, haunting and humanizing. Each story is a perfectly executed novella; a mastery of pacing and depth. I loved it.

3 people found this helpful

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In Short Measures- Wow

The narrator of first is AMAZING and if she is the narrator of the other two, wow!
The story of the first is my favorite, listened to it twice and will save for another time. Truly an amazing story. It as told in a different technique that totally captivated me. I loved it. Truly unique.

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Wtf was that!?

I didn’t think I’d be so annoyed by a man describing a woman orgasming? Lol. It was comical but also really annoying because he clearly has not done the research. If he wanted to be so explicit in his sex scenes, which I don’t mind, he should have DEFINITELY done some research on how a woman really feels, not what he wishes they do. Lol. ALSO, the bouncing around was disorienting, especially with the last story, which was a confusing string of memories. The first two stories were told from a woman’s perspective (mostly) and the author definitely relied on stereotypes mixed with his fantasy about women’s feelings and thoughts to build his characters. The women seemed to live their lives centered around men’s egos, which has me side-eying the author pretty hard. Lol. The last story was told from a man’s perspective, which I thought should be in the author’s wheelhouse based on the previous stories but omg it was SO SO BORING. An innocent man in love with three women and three women who just love him back so much… I feel like maybe the author was living out a fantasy. I’m all about love triangles and drama but you have to make it interesting and this wasn’t. Lol. I felt embarrassed for him. But whatever. I wouldn’t recommend this book but I will use clips from the sex scenes to illustrate why there’s such a big orgasm gap. Lol.

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Interesting stories…a bit confusing …

This was difficult listening at first but once sorting each story our I found it to be entertaining and well worth the time…

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Absolutely fantastic

Probably some of the best performances I've heard so far. Absolutely relatable, interesting, compelling stories that caught and kept my attention. I wish audible had more of his titles in their library.

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Great Narrators and Stories...

I don't typically leave reviews, but deemed necessary after finishing this audiobook. The stories sucked me in, and I couldn't "put this book down" until the end.

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  • LT
  • 02-05-22

One of THE best “included” reads on Audible


Exceptionally beautiful storytelling, narration and imagery. Ms. Mackay’s conversational narrative style is captivating. I felt as though she was sitting in my living room unpacking the pieces of this tale. In fact, I woke up in the middle of the night wondering what the next chapter would reveal and I decided to find out. Bravo, Michael Ruhlman! Looking forward to the two remaining novellas.

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  • KT
  • 12-08-21

Lovely writing but deeply depressing, rough

I made it all the way through every word of book 1... but it was rough. Yes the writing is beautiful but oh so raw. The 1st story is written from the pov of a woman but in authored by a man. I felt this was evident and actually read as though I was reading a man's pov of how a woman would think. I did not ever feel that Grimsly was 1st person... it made more sense that Em was writing how he perceived Grims to think and feel. Still the chapters took me through so many arcs and valleys that by the end I felt as if I was a frayed electric wire. It is because of this emotional rollercoaster I've chosen to skim and skip through the remaining 2 stories.

The narration is very good.

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I'm so glad I gave this book a chance!

If you could sum up In Short Measures in three words, what would they be?

3 stories about love and regret and the things we don't appreciate when we are young that come back to haunt us in the future

What other book might you compare In Short Measures to and why?

I really can't think of any book to compare it with because it is usually not the kind of book I read. I usually like plot driven novels and I stay away from romance. That is why I'm so happy I gave this book a chance. I loved the three stories and the characters and the very simple very realistic plot.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

I really liked Grimsley in the first Novella. She is so real and I felt everything she was feeling.

If you could take any character from In Short Measures out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Sally Forth! She seems like a lot of fun

Any additional comments?

I'm looking forward to the next Michael Ruhlman book and I might even try one of his cooking books. I was actually very surprised when I goggled him to found out he usually doesn't write Novellas! I think he should write a lot more of those because he is very good at it.

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  • Gerard
  • 10-25-16

Beautiful in parts

Would you listen to In Short Measures again? Why?

This is one I'll revisit. Beautiful in parts, engaging always. Three linked tales borrowing themes and identities, carefully knitted together.

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