Tom's Reviews > Cataclysm Baby

Cataclysm Baby by Matt Bell
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's review
May 30, 2012

it was amazing

Why do I think I have anything to add to the brilliance of this book? What praise could be heaped upon it that hasn't already been heaped?

There is, in this book, reason to celebrate the future of the independent publisher, for one. Mr. Tyler has given us such a beautifully made object; anyone who leaves it on a coffee table or keeps it visible on a bus stop bench will certainly fetch inquiry from others. It's just that arresting an object. I love the size, I love the design, I love the font. MudLuscious has been making such good books that this is, in some ways, no suprise, yet it seems that JA has upped the ante here.

What's more, Mr. Bell seems at the top of his game. I have been privileged to hear first hand that he considers himself not so much a writer of scenes but a writer of enhanced summary. And what summary this is. Much has been made of the Biblical cadences of his prose, but I would point too to his masterful employ of narrators who navigate a wavering line between reliable and unreliable. Ultimately, for me, it's no so much what they say, but the manner in which they say it, and how Bell seems to vanish more and more into these characters' voices: elegant, thundering, and wise, while beset by calamities that only Mr. Bell could devise.

Last, let me say that I am no fan of apocalyptic literature and wondered, going in, if I'd be wearied by the book's conceit (sundry end of the world scenarios from A to Z). I wasn't. And I attribute this to the reading that seems supported by the book's dedication, to Mr. Bell's parents, "who survived five cataclysms of their own." For while every father/narrator of these twenty-six segments reports the doom and despair of the end days, they also monitor the development of their offspring, and is it not possible that every parent, even the parent of children who are not sinister mimics (no wonder I liked that story) or lupine or possessed of brittle bones, indeed, suffers an apocalypse on a small scale? And as that world ends, another begins, which perhaps is what we readers should be considering with all cataclysms: that they offer an opportunity to conclude the business of one world and set up shop in another of limitless possibility?

Whatever, go and buy this book. It rocks.

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message 1: by Stephanie (new) - added it

Stephanie Sounds fascinating, will put on my list.

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