• Zia Exclusives
    • Zia Vinyl Exclusives
    • Zia Apparel
    • Zia Gear
  • Holiday
    • Gifts Under $5
    • Gifts Under $10
    • White Elephant
    • Holiday Gifts
    • Vinyl
    • Gift Cards
    • Gift Bags
  • Shop
    • New Music & Movies
    • RSD Black Friday
    • Vinyl Exclusives
    • Vinyl
    • Music
    • Pre-Orders / Coming Soon
    • Movies
  • Events
    • Calendar
    • Contests
  • Connect
    • Contact us
    • Wishlist / My Account
    • Buy Sell Trade
    • Find A Store
    • Ask Us Anything
    • Consignment
    • Work At Zia
    • Newsletter
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Returns Policy
    • Tokens for Charity
  • Menu
    • Zia Exclusives
      • Zia Vinyl Exclusives
      • Zia Apparel
      • Zia Gear
    • Holiday
      • Gifts Under $5
      • Gifts Under $10
      • White Elephant
      • Holiday Gifts
      • Vinyl
      • Gift Cards
      • Gift Bags
    • Shop
      • New Music & Movies
      • RSD Black Friday
      • Vinyl Exclusives
      • Vinyl
      • Music
      • Pre-Orders / Coming Soon
      • Movies
    • Events
      • Calendar
      • Contests
    • Connect
      • Contact us
      • Wishlist / My Account
      • Buy Sell Trade
      • Find A Store
      • Ask Us Anything
      • Consignment
      • Work At Zia
      • Newsletter
      • Twitter
      • Facebook
      • Instagram
      • Returns Policy
      • Tokens for Charity
  • Menu
    • Zia Exclusives
      • Zia Vinyl Exclusives
      • Zia Apparel
      • Zia Gear
    • Holiday
      • Gifts Under $5
      • Gifts Under $10
      • White Elephant
      • Holiday Gifts
      • Vinyl
      • Gift Cards
      • Gift Bags
    • Shop
      • New Music & Movies
      • RSD Black Friday
      • Vinyl Exclusives
      • Vinyl
      • Music
      • Pre-Orders / Coming Soon
      • Movies
    • Events
      • Calendar
      • Contests
    • Connect
      • Contact us
      • Wishlist / My Account
      • Buy Sell Trade
      • Find A Store
      • Ask Us Anything
      • Consignment
      • Work At Zia
      • Newsletter
      • Twitter
      • Facebook
      • Instagram
      • Returns Policy
      • Tokens for Charity
Shop  >>  Books  >>  Fiction (General)

Matt Bell

In the House upon the Dirt Between the Lake and th

Matt Bell In The House Upon The Dirt Between The Lake And Th
$15.00 New
 
Special Order – Not a Regularly Stocked Item – Sho

Add To Cart
 




Biographical note:

Matt Bell's first story collection, How They Were Found, was published in 2010 by Keyhole Press, and was reviewed in The BelieverAmerican 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 2010Best 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.

Country of final manufacture:

US

Excerpt from book:

I.
Before our first encounter with the bear I had already finished building the house, or nearly so.

In the hasty days that followed, I feared we moved in too fast and too early, the house’s furnishings still incomplete, the doors not all right-hinged—and in response to my worries my wife said that was no trouble, that she could quickly finish what I had mostly made.

Beneath the unscrolling story of new sun and stars and then-lonely moon, she began to sing some new possessions into the interior of our house, and between the lake and the woods I heard her songs become something stronger than ever before. I returned to the woods to cut more lumber, so that I too might add to our household, might craft for her a crib and a bassinet, a table for changing diapers, all the other furnishings she desired. We labored together, and soon our task seemed complete, our house readied for what dreams we shared—the dream I had given her, of family, of husband and wife, father and mother, child and child—and when the earliest signs of my wife’s first pregnancy came they were attended with joy and celebration.

II.
The dirt's wettest season swelled, and then its hottest burst the world to bloom, and through those tumid months my wife swelled too, expanded in both belly and breast until the leaves fell—and afterward came no more growth, only some stalling of the flesh gathering within her. Even before it was obvious that there would be no baby, even then my wife began to cry, to sing sadder songs that dimmed our already-fuel-poor gas-lamps, or cracked cups and bowls behind cupboard doors.

I angered that we would have to start again, and if my wife was not to birth some son then I wished only for that pregnancy’s speedy end, so that she might not suffer overlong, so that another child might be put in this one’s place. But still her body delayed, pretending that the bundle inside her might grow into some child, and my wife pretended too, and when I could not stand her insistence I again went out back of the house to where my wife had planted a garden, some few tubers and herbs to supplement what fish I took daily from the lake.

Now in my frustration I returned that place to the dirt it had been, and later my wife confronted me with what I had done. Her anger flushed her face, and her yelling contained none of the music I loved in her singing voice, and as she exhausted her still-round shape of its rage then at last I saw her labor was upon us.


What sad and sorry shape was born from her after those next days, that labor made long despite the lack of life within:

Not an arm, but an arm bud. Not a leg, but a leg bud, a proto-knee.

Not a heart but a heart bulge.

Not an eye but an eye spot, half covered by a translucent lid, uselessly clear.

Not a baby, instead only this miscarriage, this finger’s length of intended and aborted future.

And what was not born: No pro

July 2013 Indie Next Pick

Praise for In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods

“Onstage, it could be a densely allusive play by Sam Shepard or Thornton Wilder.... Mr. Bell has written a gripping, grisly tale of a husband’s descent into and ultimate emergence from some kind of personal hell.”
—The New York Times

“It's hard to imagine a book more difficult to pull off, but Bell proves as self-assured as he is audacious. His prose, which manages to be both mournful and propulsive, is undeniable.... Bell's novel isn't just a joy to read, it's also one of the smartest meditations on the subjects of love, family and marriage in recent years.... the novel is a monument to the uniqueness of every relationship, the possibility that love itself can make the world better, though of course it's never easy.”
NPR

"Somber, incantatory sentences to hold you within [Bell's] dreamlike creation.... This unique book leaves you with the haunting lesson that even if you renounce and cast away your loved ones, you can never disown the memory of your deeds."
The Wall Street Journal

"A blood-soaked fable... With this debut novel, Matt Bell [reworks] myths, rituals and fictions into something that can hold his visceral, primal vision. In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods provides us with a new, unstable literary element, something scavenged from the old, something bright and wet and vital.”
The Globe and Mail

“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 the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods is an extraordinary achievement, telling a most ancient story in a way that feels uncannily new."
—The Boston Globe

"A big, slinking, dangerous fairy tale, the kind with gleaming fangs and blood around the muzzle and a powerful heart you can hear thumping from miles away. The story's ferocity is matched by Matt Bell's glorious sentences: sinuous and darkly magical, they are taproots of the strange."
Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author of Arcadia

"This is a fiercely original book—at once intimate and epic, visceral and philosophical—that sent me scurrying for adjectives, for precedents, for cover. Matt Bell commands the page with bold, vigorous prose and may well have invented the pulse-pounding novel of ideas."
Jess Walter, National Book Award Finalist and author of Beautiful Ruins and We Live In Water

"Matt Bell does not write sentences—he writes spells. He is not a novelist—he is a mystic. This book, which will grip you in an otherworldly trance, reads like something divined from tea leaves or translated from a charcoal cipher on a cave wall." 
Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon and The Wilding

"There is a power here that is almost overwhelming. The force of the writing is derived from something elemental and primal. Unlike anything I have read in a long time."
Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

"I have never come across a book that is so close to a dream state, with all the wildness and wonder and transfiguration that implies."
—Emily Temple, Flavorwire Literary Editor

"Bell has crafted a terrifying and entirely spell-binding story about what it means to be a husband, a father, and, more simply, a man."
—The Daily Beast

"Bell puts the fabl
  •  

Connect With Us