A 19th-century minister builds an elaborate motor that will bring about the Second Coming. A man with rough hands locks a boy in a room with an albino ape. An apocalyptic army falls under a veil of forgetfulness. The story of Red Riding Hood is run through a potentially endless series of iterations. A father invents an elaborate, consumin...
A 19th-century minister builds an elaborate motor that will bring about the Second Coming. A man with rough hands locks a boy in a room with an albino ape. An apocalyptic army falls under a veil of forgetfulness. The story of Red Riding Hood is run through a potentially endless series of iterations. A father invents an elaborate, consuming game for his hospitalized son. Indexes, maps, a checkered shirt buried beneath a blanket of snow: they are scattered through these pages as clues to mysteries that may never be solved, lingering evidence of the violence and unknowability of the world.
A Tree or a Person or a Wall brings together Bell’s previously published shorter fiction — the story collection How They Were Found and the acclaimed novella Cataclysm Baby — along with seven dark and disturbing new stories, to create a collection of singular power.
“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
“In extraordinary language, with deep feeling, Matt Bell has crafted a baby name book for the apocalypse, a gorgeous, brilliant, often darkly hilarious and always moving novella . . . I loved this book and want to recommend it to every human parent and child I know.”
—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“A clutch of stories with a flavor of the experimental, the apocalyptic, and often both ... Admirable efforts to strip familiarity and sentiment from stories of humanity at its worst.”
–Kirkus on A Tree or a Person or a Wall: Stories
“These fables plumb the depths of human longing... a collection that resonates like a tuning fork, lingering after the book is closed.”
–Publishers Weekly on A Tree or a Person or a Wall
“Told in a mythic, omniscient voice, some of these pieces read like cruel fairy tales... Imagine a tale from Lydia Davis on a bad trip... smart and edgy.”
“Bell joins a class of genre-blind writers that include Karen Russell, China Miéville and Emily St. John Mandel ... Doom-inflected poetics aside, Bell tells deeply human stories that resonate in odd, sad ways.”
—Shelf Awareness on A Tree or a Person or a Wall
“For those who enjoy boldly stylish short fiction, this collection of his shorter work offers plenty of opportunities to be floored.”
—Vol. 1 Brooklyn on A Tree or a Person or a Wall
“Matt Bell has become a force in American literature and this is in no small part due to his flexibility in style... A Tree or a Person or a Wall is perhaps the most comprehensive example of his stylistic diversity.”
—Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“Matt Bell blurs the often fine lines between literary and genre fictions, allegory and horror, magical realism and bizarro... Bell’s tales are all told in a distinctly confident and haunting voice, rendering an unforgettable reading experience every time.”
—The New York Journal of Books
“There is nothing remotely close to filler within A Tree or a Person or a Wall... each sentence, and paragraph, are the type that you want to read a second or third time.”