First off, I want to say I was familiar with Matt’s work coming in, having hooked up on the social sites (we writers be pimpin’ yo!) and downloading a free sample of his short story The Collectors which was probably the best short story I’ve read in aa while- then came these stories.
Not every story in the collection caught my emotion. The apocalyptic story about the dimmed older soldiers at the receiving tower was written with pin point precision and I could feel how cold it was by the descriptions of ice and a stack of dead bodies by the tower (that detail in itself says a lot about the coldness- no dead flesh smell) it was gloomy but I didn’t feel or I should say relate to the characters and their situation. They were empty and emotionless from spending their youth to middle age by this tower and because they were flat that’s how I felt about the story.
My favorites were The Cartographers Girl and This is How My Family Died, two poignant pieces about love and loss but different kinds, the magnitude of the losses separated by whom was lost, a whole family, a lover, yet the suffering in each just as heavy, which is how Matt treats this whole book, not shying away from intense emotion and treating each character’s suffering with an equally deft brush stroke. Get. This. Book.