In The House Upon The Dirt Between The Lake Analysis

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Matt Bell's, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods (2013), is a magical realism novel that follows the perspective of an unnamed husbands attempt at creating a family. The novel begins with a couple that has moved away from civilization and settled at first in a cave, as the husband builds their house in a place between the woods and a lake. However, the couple is forced to move into the still barren foundations prematurely after an encounter with a bear. It is within the empty walls that they discover that the wife is capable of singing things into creation, and she quickly finishes what he has mostly made (3). The husband soon becomes jealous of his wife's ability of creation and fears that he is loosing control over her. He also becomes frustrated when she can't produce for him the family he greatly desires and she desires for him. They are both devastated by countless miscarriages to the point where the husband tries to bear his own child. They become distant until the wife is finally able to bring him a…show more content…
The limited perspective the reader has of these nameless characters creates an even more unsettling atmosphere to Bell's dream/fairytale like prose. The dirt, woods, and lake in the title of the book are reoccurring themes throughout the story. The woods, and the lake are often used in classical fairytales as turning points and cause of change for the protagonist and is used similarly in this story for the protagonist and his wife. Although the novel itself deals with more mature topics like miscarriage and is graphic at points Bell's language is very appealing. It's easy to get lost in the lyrical almost poetry like writing that weaves together both beautiful and intense images that leave the reader engrossed in every word. His description can also at times be excessive, but beautiful nonetheless for

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