In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the WoodsMatt Bell
“For readers weary of literary fiction that dutifully obeys the laws of nature, here’s a story that stirs the Brothers Grimm and Salvador Dali with its claws... as gorgeous as it is devastating.” — The Washington Post
In this epic, mythical debut novel, a newly-wed couple escapes the busy confusion of their homeland for a distant and almost-uninhabited lakeshore. They plan to live there simply, to fish the lake, to trap the nearby woods, and build a house upon the dirt where they can raise a family. But as their every pregnancy fails, the child-obsessed husband begins to rage at this new world: the song-spun objects somehow created by his wife's beautiful singing voice, the giant and sentient bear that rules the beasts of the woods, the second moon weighing down the fabric of their starless sky, and the labyrinth of memory dug into the earth beneath their house.
This novel, from one of our most exciting young writers, is a powerful exploration of the limits of parenthood and marriage — and of what happens when a marriage’s success is measured solely by the children it produces, or else the sorrow that marks their absence.
Matt Bell's first story collection, How They Were Found, was published in 2010 by Keyhole Press, and was reviewed in The Believer, American Book Review, and Bookslut, among many other venues. In 2012, Cataclysm Baby, a novella, was published by Mud Luscious Press, with blurbs by Karen Russell, Lucy Corin, Lance Olsen, and Chris Bachelder. Bell's fiction has been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories 2010, Best American Fantasy 2, and 30 Under 30: An Anthology of Innovative Fiction by Younger Writers, and shortlisted in Best American Short Stories 2010 and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He serves as Senior Editor at Dzanc Books and teaches writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.