Matt Baker was born in Indiana and grew up in Kansas. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois, and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas. He is the author of a novel, DRAG THE DARKNESS DOWN. His work has not been translated into any languages.
Compared to Larry Brown, Cormac McCarthy, and Quentin Tarantino—for both the violence in his stories and the simple truths that echo from his prose—Bill writes sentences that are abrupt and vicious. In Donnybrook, his first novel, it's the shortest sentences that hit the hardest.
In Teresa Milbrodt’s phenomenal debut short story collection, Bearded Women Stories, freaks of human nature take center stage, carrying on the great Southern gothic tradition started by the likes of Flannery O’Connor. But this is not your grandmother’s Deep South gothic carnival. No, this is subtler, more mythical than existential, and, in fact, the stories in Milbrodt’s fantasy world largely take place in the least magical world of all: Ohio.
Six hours into my drive I hit the Missouri Ozarks and Doyle Redmond's (narrator of Woodrell's novel Give Us a Kiss) description of the landscape flared up in my mind. "Our region, the Ozarks, was all carved by water. When the ice age shifted, the world was nothing but a flood. The runoff through the ages since had slashed valleys and ravines and dark hollows through the mountains."
I was looking for a sign, a direction, a clue. I'd been a religious skeptic since the age of seven when I was admonished by my Sunday-school teacher for saying, "You've got to be kidding me," when she told us the resurrection story. So, needless to say, I wasn't looking upward for my nudge.