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In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

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Description

In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods tells the story of a newly married couple who take up a lonely existence in the title's mythical location. In this blank and barren plot far from the world they've known, they mean to start the family the unnamed husband wants so obsessively. But their every pregnancy fails, and as their grief swells, the husband─a hot-tempered and impatient fisherman and trapper─attempts to prove his dominion in other ways, emptying both the lake and the woods of their many beasts. As the years pass, the wife changes too, her suddenly powerful voice singing some new series of objects into being, including a threatening moon hung above their house, its doomed weight already slowly falling, bending their now-starless sky.
 
In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods is about marriage, parenthood, and the dreams parents have for their children─as well as what happens to a marriage whose success is measured solely by the children it produces, or else the grief that marks their absence.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 11, 2013 – This debut novel from up-and-coming Bell (Cataclysm Baby) is a dark, intriguingly odd fable about what it means to be a father. The narrator (no character is given a proper name) takes his new bride to a secluded house in an area populated only by wildlife, including an overly symbolic she-bear. The carefully wrought prose takes its cues from magical realism: “Beneath the unscrolling story of new sun and stars and then-lonely moon, began to sing some new possessions” to furnish their rustic abode. Things get stranger still when the man consumes his still-born son’s body. The couple struggles to conceive again, until one day the woman brings home a young child dubbed “the foundling.” The man can’t accept the boy and, haunted by his dead child’s ghost, descends into madness. The sketchy narrative and characters, however, interest Bell less than large-scale themes: the oedipal competition between a father and son for a mother’s love; threatened masculinity; and, more elliptically, man’s impact on the environment. This challenging, boldly experimental attempt at myth-building may resonate with equally ambitious readers, but offers fewer rewards to those looking for narrative pleasures.
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jun 18, 2013
  • Publisher: Soho Press
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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