Eat Hell & Narrow Books

June 25, 2009 at 9:02 pm

A few days ago I an attractive little short story collection called Eat Hell from Little Paper Planes, a great online seller of artwork, books, handmade crafts and clothing, and a huge variety of homemade or boutique art zines. Eat Hell pulls together three short stories of Joseph Mattson, the author of what is apparently a “much anticipated novel” and a handful of poems and stories for various literary publications. The book was illustrated by Mel Kadel and published by one of my new favorite boutique presses, Narrow Books.

The stories collected in Eat Hell have rightly been characterized as both “wrenching” and “funny”, with Mattson laboring to convey both a sense of constant dirtiness and the dark humor of his characters’ situations. Each is very short – the entire book totals only 80 pages – so there is only limited time in which a reader might become too disgusted anyway, but Mattson builds his characters and their situations with such tact that empathy arises without drawing anyone too much into the muck that they often inhabit. The book is a great day’s read and I’m tempted to find the enthusiastic anticipation of his first novel justified.

Based in Los Angeles, Narrow BooksEat Hell’s publisher – is only four years old and relatively small, though the handful of books that populate their catalog appear uniformly great. Of particular interest is Two Letters, a series of short story anthologies, approaching the publication of its third volume, with the second coming into print alongside Eat Hell earlier this February. As with Eat Hell, Two Letters is an undeniable work of art, presenting short fiction “sandwiched” between the work of an equal number of artists. I recommend taking one or even two peeks.

Here’s a picture of Eat Hell from Narrow’s website:

Book Cover

Cheers,

Dwight

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Entry filed under: Books, Publishers.

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