In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods (2)In Matt Bell’s debut novel, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods (Soho Press), we are lured into familiar territory—the world of fables and tall tales, where our expectations of the surreal, the grotesque, and the magical are fulfilled in ever-expanding layers. But beyond the illusions, beyond the world building, darkness, and the unknown is an allegory—a harsh yet beautiful lesson on what it means to be a man, a father, and a husband; to be a woman, a mother, and a wife. Told in layers, fractured into sections, unfolding in a grand tapestry that weaves emotions and actions into a complex series of destinies and consequences, this novel is not an easy read. But the reward is dense prose, powerful psychoanalysis, and the unsettling feeling that our own actions today—many miles from the woods with its failing bear, and its lake with its undulating squid—might be bound by similar rules and outcomes.

 

 

 

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is your fourth book, 2nd novel. What drove you towards the novel form this time around?

I like to work on both at the same time.  I’ll work on a story for awhile and then switch gears and muck around in a novel to take the pressure off both forms.


José de Sousa Saramago, Nobel-winning Portuguese author of the novel “Blindness”, et al., died today at the age of 87 in Las Palmas, Spain.