Sharply strange and eerily familiar. Absurdly funny and terrifyingly serious. Surreal, fantastic, gritty, real. The stories in Matthew Cheney’s Hudson Prize-winning debut collection range across various styles, modes, genres, and tones as they explore the worlds of family, love, memory, and loss.
Children play through a war-torn world; a mother seeks to communicate with a dead child; a man is drawn to a mysterious destiny in the far reaches of Maine; a historian tries to reconstruct a lost New York history; Ronald Reagan founds a religion and hides a love; a daughter tries to find her place in a family of men with guns.
Blood: Stories reprints work originally published in such different venues as One Story and Weird Tales, and it includes four new stories that travel from contemporary New Hampshire to historical Prague to might-have-been Mexico to a future world where no reality stays real for long.
Reality flows through these stories, even at their most surreal and lyrical, because reality is more than just what is or even what might be: reality is whatever gets beneath our skin and into our blood. The pages of Blood: Stories not only take an axe to the frozen sea within us — they make a course for the heart.
Matthew Cheney's work has been published by One Story, Unstuck, Weird Tales, Black Static, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Rain Taxi, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. He is the former series editor of the Best American Fantasy anthologies and is co-editor of the occasional online magazine The Revelator. After ten years as a high school teacher, he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Literature at the University of New Hampshire.