Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Cataclysm Baby (The Mud Luscious Press Novel(La)) Paperback – April 15, 2012

Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$933.78 $29.78

Frequently Bought Together

Cataclysm Baby (The Mud Luscious Press Novel(La)) + How They Were Found
Buy the selected items together
  • How They Were Found $11.79


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: The Mud Luscious Press Novel(La)
  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Mud Luscious Press (April 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983026378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983026372
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,524,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"In extraordinary language, with deep feeling, Matt Bell has crafted a baby name book for the apocalypse, a gorgeous, brilliant, often darkly hilarious and always moving novella. Written with an ingenuity and joy that call to mind Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, each chapter is a treasure: Here are beast of burden children, larval girls, subterranean daughters and choirs of sirens, combustible baby boys. I loved this book and want to recommend it to every human parent and child I know; if trees, rocks, and stars were literate, I would recommend it to them, too. "Where do babies come from?" children ask their parents, and Cataclysm Baby has an alphabet of answers as beautiful and mysterious as that ancient question, while always posing its haunting corollary: 'Where do they go?' --Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"You can read Matt Bell's apocalyptic abecedarium as a grotesque allegory of the devastations of parenthood, or as a grim realist extrapolation evoked by our crumbling world order. But these lovely, harrowing pieces do not float off into the Ideasphere; they remain tethered to the dusty, arid earth by their palpable nouns:  baby, hair, teeth, womb, seed, porridge, hut, crib, bone, mouth, hatchet, shovel, flesh. Like The Red Cavalry Stories or The Age of Wire and String, Cataclysm Baby is both surreal and vividly concrete, as much a Feeling Experiment as a Thought Experiment. The trope of end time is always about revelation, and what is revealed here, among other things, is Bell's brutal compassion." --Chris Bachelder, author of Abbott Awaits

"The baby born as fur ball, the one who chews up its sibling in the womb, the amputated limbs, the child sacrifices, the girl untethered into the sky, the skewed biblical cadences and the mythic tropes, the continuous horror begot by parenthood and authority--Matt Bell's collection of condensed narraticules, Cataclysm Baby, is Avant-Gothic at its most remarkable, unsettling, potent." --Lance Olsen, author of Calendar of Regrets

"Here is the alphabet of the pulsing apocalypse that is fatherhood, a book in love with what words, like parents, create: beauty, terror, awe." --Lucy Corin, author of The Entire Predicament

About the Author

Matt Bell is the author of How They Were Found (Keyhole Press, 2010), a collection of fiction, and Cataclysm Baby (Mud Luscious Press, 2012), a novella. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, Hayden's Ferry Review, Gulf Coast, and Willow Springs, and has been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories and Best American Fantasy. He is the Senior Editor at Dzanc Books.

More About the Author

Matt Bell's debut novel In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods was longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. He is also the author of two previous books, How They Were Found and Cataclysm Baby. His writing has been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Fantasy, and 30 Under 30: An Anthology of Innovative Fiction by Younger Writers. He teaches creative writing at Northern Michigan University.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 9 customer reviews
I liked the y story a lot.
Jeremy Moss
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book directly from the author.
Brianna Soloski
Bell's prose is beautiful, and his stories haunting.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AmpersandBooks on May 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Babies born wrong, a world in flames, drowning, drying up, and drifting away - these are the ways the world ends, with terminally hopeful fathers clutching the roles of the past as the future crumbles away. Cataclysm Baby spins these elements around, each chapter presenting a new vision of men trying to hold families together or blow them apart while exhausted wives die or go insane and children are born as insects, as ghosts, as part of a murderous, hostile new world.
Matt Bell's novel is an abecedarium of apocalypse; the title of every chapter is a trio of names, starting with the same letter - the names of the children who should carry humanity into the future and persevere in the face of a host of environmental disasters.
Read the rest of this review at [...]
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Goutis on June 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
In Cataclysm Baby, Matt Bell shows you what it means to hurt. He shows what loss is. He teaches us desperation, sorrow, and hunger. He makes us accept these fates with no fight. We learn to fight, but only to survive.

These stories are short, most of them being 1-2 pages long. But they convey so much. And, as cliche as it is to say nowadays, Matt Bell really packs a lot into so few words.

The stories themselves take place in a dystopian future. I don't think they all take place in the same future or same setting, some of them seem to though. But, in each of these futures he gives us, something terribly wrong has happened. Every future that he comes up with is a horror. It's as if we are being punished for something, because living has become torture.

While the setting is this dystopian future, the theme is family. What are we doing to hold our family together? What is love driving us to do? Which member in the family is the most important? The most expendable? We need to make choices and none of them are good. But hopefully we can make the least bad choice.

A lot of these stories deal with babies - babies being born with too much fat, brittle bones, or totally covered with fur inside and out. This alone conveys so many ingrained emotions. As soon as a baby is mentioned you start feeling a certain way. And then you realize the baby isn't "right" and more emotions spring up. But it doesn't come off as a trick to play with your emotions. It's done just right. It's simply good writing.

Some of the stories are very strange. I would say he is toeing the line of bizarro. Maybe think of David Lynch? There is a story about a ceremony, not unlike a bar mitzvah, where when a child reaches a certain age they have a party.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
I love everything Matt Bell writes, and it seems so obvious to me that this book is great, of course, so it seems like there is almost no reason to even say anything. It's a Matt Bell book. Read it. Really all anyone needs to know who is serious about literary fiction. I feel it would appeal to a wide range of tastes, but not to those who want to ignore the reality of our world. People call it the Apocalypse, but really, it's not about some religious strangeness of theoretical proportions. As surreal and impossible as it is, this book is as real as it gets.

Any parents considering having children today if they are aware must go through the stage of wondering if their children will be changed by the radiation levels, chemicals, electromagnetic pollution, even sonograms. What must their dreams be like each night, facing a future of raising monsters of distorted flesh, mind-gnomes, emotion-cloud with fingers where their toes should be. It's the state of our world, and what can we humans give back to make up for the burden we've caused the earth? Not enough. But we try. And Bell tries so hard he shines a genius-light on the grim devastation, highlighting the true horror in ways that make it beautiful. Almost beautiful enough to redeem us.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
What struck me most about Cataclysm Baby was its rhythm. I liken this book to one of Bell's other stories - Wolf Parts. Individually, each of these 26 vignettes of failed parental and domestic relationships is a gut-wrenching look at how the most basic of all units - the family unit - breaks apart in the face of the apocalypse. But one after another, weight of each story continues to batter you as a reader. Until, like the ocean beating on a glacier or the wind cutting at stone, it simply becomes to much to bear and all the individual stories begin to resonate against each other, generating a sum sound greater than the parts.

The rhythm exists at each level of the collection - at the sentence level, where Bell takes meticulous care weighing the sound and timbre of each word in the reader's mind. The paragraphs also echo each other, needling at each story from a multitude of angles with a familiar construct. Then the stories themselves, with echoing themes and their titles, each a trio of names that fit perfectly together.

If you're a fan of dystopian fiction, and like your stories experimental - I wouldn't hesitate to pick this up.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Jeremy Moss on February 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is very excellent. It is a very good read. I liked the y story a lot. Matt Bell is a good read!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?