It usually takes me a very long time to read story collections I like, and Matt Bell‘s How They Were Found is no exception. What happens is this: I’ll say to myself, “Wow, that was a good story, you should save some for later.” And that sounds ridiculous, I’m sure, but there are few things better than a great short story before bed, so I’ll read one on nights I have trouble falling asleep.
My favorite story of the bunch, “The Receiving Tower,” gave me nightmares, imagining myself stranded amidst never-ending ice like those poor men. And I think that’s what good stories should do: leave you with images you can’t scrape from your brain, no matter how hard you try. Between that and a drowned girl held in a meat freezer, How They Were Found certainly gives me my fill.
I’d suggest anyone interested should read the review of the book at TriQuarterly Online, who does a better job than I could at explaining what I like most about these characters, how they seem to see the world through a “filmy gauze.”