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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matt Bell Narrator: Charlie Thurston Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In this epic, mythical debut novel, a newlywed 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 between 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 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins

  • In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods is 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 The Monsters of Templeton

  • “A deeply affecting, wildly inventive fable on parenthood and loss.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A tragedy of fantastic proportions, the book’s musical, often idiosyncratic prose will carry its readers into an unfamiliar but unforgettable world.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “This debut novel from up-and-coming Bell  is a dark, intriguingly odd fable about what it means to be a father…this challenging, boldly experimental attempt at myth-building may resonate with equally ambitious readers.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “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

  • “This week, I’ve been reading Matt Bell’s In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods, a terrifying and wonderful fable that has nestled itself somewhere deep inside my shoulder blades. 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, literary editor

  • Selected for the July 2013 Indie Next List
  • A 2014 Indies Choice Award Honoree for Adult Debut
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About the Author
Author Matt Bell

Matt Bell is the author of Cataclysm Baby, a novella, and How They Were Found, a collection of fiction. His 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. He serves as senior editor at Dzanc Books and teaches writing at Northern Michigan University.