Monday, February 15, 2010

Matt Bell's "Collectors" Love Trash

Matt Bell -- who I commented on late last year for his fantastic short "Mario's Three Lives" -- has been offering "The Collectors," his runner-up manuscript in Caketrain's 2008 Chapbook Competition, as a free download on his Web site. Caketrain published the book in May 2009 but it's since gone out of print, which is good for Bell and the publisher (selling out of books is always good for authors and their publishers) but is even better for those of us who can now read it at no charge.

The book is the tale of compulsive hoarders Homer and Langley Collyer in 1940s Manhattan, whose home has become like a pool where all the tainted waters of their material lives have been collected and frozen in a kind of interior structure of decay. It's an interesting, creepy read, and holds the honored distinction of being the first (and currently only) publication I enjoyed enough to read it in it's entirety on my iPod touch.

It also reminded me of the above "Sesame Street" video, featuring Oscar the Grouch, who, after making the inadvertent connection, I can't think of Bell's story without picturing as the protagonist.

Incidentally, it was recently announced that Bell's short story "Dredge" -- originally published in Hayden's Ferry Review 45, which coincidentally has a cover image that could have come straight from the Collyer's home -- has been selected for "The Best American Mystery Stories 2010," to be published this fall. Obviously Bell is an author to keep an eye on.

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