In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake & the Woods: Disappointing First Effort

In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the WoodsIn the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More like 3.75/5. The beginning of the book is quite good- we get a sense of urgency quite quickly which does the novel some good as in the middle and towards the end the plot begins to sag.

The voice of the narrator…I don’t know how I feel about it. The language was simple, sentences clipped, but primitive, and I get why Matt chose to write it like this- it’s a fairy tale, a dark, twisted, original Brothers Grimm type story and because of this the story needs this type of narration. I’m just not sure if it was for me.

The middle of the book sagged a little bit. I don’t know if it was repetitive as some reviewers have said- I wasn’t finding that but it just didn’t excite me like the beginning, although every time I opened it up and started to read, Matt held my attention, until….

The first scene with the squid. When I started reading that my immediate thought was “what the fuck am I reading?” and that was the sentiment for most of that scene and the scenes to follow. This is not the genre I usually read and I have read some great fantasy but this seemed overwrought and full of symbols and I am not sure it pays off in the end. Half of it was lost on me because there was just so much. I am not the most critical reader, so I may be handicapped in that respect. But I get it. Matt is extremely talented. But it just seemed heavy handed to me.

I love Matt’s work and this is no exception but on a different, perhaps less of an immediate level. It has reread value only because I am an English major and literary analysis is my weak point. I figure if I can work the stuff out in this novel I might have a shot at an A. :-)

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