Black Mirror meets Stranger Things in this urgent, high-concept, twisted vision of the world we live inA cross between different American genres, from bildungsroman to rom com, western to dystopian, including fantasy, horror, erotica and a noir detective mystery. The series comes complete with easter eggs of Matthew Baker's design: the thirteen episodes represent the thirteen stripes on the US flag, and every US state appears in the book at least onceThere has been unprecedented TV and film interest in Matthew Baker's short stories. 8 of the 13 stories in this collection have been optioned for TV and film. 'Life Sentence' was won by Netflix in a nine-way, six-figure auction that also included Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and Apple and will be produced by Matt Reeves, director of 'Planet of the Apes'. 'Transition' has been sold to Amazon, 'Rites' has been sold to James Ponsoldt, director of 'The Circle', and 'Lost Souls' is being made into a feature film by Fox SearchlightMatthew Baker is the author of the story collection Hybrid Creatures. His stories have appeared in the Paris Review, American Short Fiction, New England Review, One Story, Electric Literature and Conjunctions, and in anthologies including Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions. A recipient of grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Commission and the MacDowell Colony, among many others, he has an MFA from Vanderbilt University, where he was the founding editor of Nashville Review. Born in Michigan, he currently lives in New York City.Welcome, dear visitor, to a proud and storied nation. When you put down this guidebook, look around you. A nation isn't land. A nation is people. Equal parts speculative and satirical, the stories in Matthew Baker's collection portray a world within touching distance of our own. This is an America riven by dilemmas confronting so many of us, turned on its head by one of the most innovative voices of the moment. Read together, these parallel-universe stories create a composite portrait of our true nature and a dark reflection of the world we live in.A twisted, exhilarating and darkly strange vision of our time, explored in thirteen interconnected episodes.A little revelation . . . The fantastical tales in this delightful book poke, with gleeful audacity, at the edges of contemporary America and late capitalism . . . Transitions of sex, gender, family, geographical borders, digital communication, language and even neurological states are examined in thrillingly imaginative stories . . . A witty, exuberant collection which variously reminded me of The Paper Menagerie, Friday Black, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Years and Years. Mind-bending, like all the best drugsThere's a skew-whiff wonderfulness to the thirteen tales in this off-kilter look at contemporary America and all its contradictions . . . Tackling hot-button topics, Baker tip-tilts the perspective, offering something at once strange yet instantly familiar . . . It's all masterfully done, and Baker's prose is engagingly easeful, yet hypnotically elegantConspicuously talented . . . Baker never takes the easy way out. He doesn't brandish sharp swords at American capitalism or consumer excess or fears that masquerade as politics. Neither does he construct straw men, then ask the reader to applaud when he lights them on fire. Instead, he demonstrates charity toward his characters, who as Americans stand in for the prismatic nature of the country itselfSatirical and deeply humane, these poignant stories expose the moral bankruptcy at the rotten core of the American social contractMatthew Baker is the rarest of writers, one who can turn complex, high-concept stories into sublime character-driven psalms. His work is both highly original and refreshingly humanBaker's writing is taut yet lyrical, and brims with sensitivity towards the pitfalls of human experienceHow does he do it? Matthew Baker's mind is an oyster producing pearl after pearl. Each story in Why Visit America offers an eerie and unsettling vision of our possible future while remaining emotionally truthful, and, as always, incredibly damn funMatthew Baker's Why Visit America is at once deeply heartbroken by the state of our country and world, and also deeply hopeful about what both could be. These stories critically examine the harms wrought by American xenophobia, misogyny, transphobia and capitalism while also bearing an abiding, profound love for this planet and for its people. This is a brilliant collection that shines with imagination, and with empathyWith his unique brand of quirky, sardonic compassion, Matthew Baker offers us a book that's like a cross-country road trip as seen through a funhouse mirror. At once trenchant and deeply tender, the stories in Why Visit America thrum with all that is exasperating, absurd, tragic, and still so compelling about life in these United StatesMatthew Baker's stories are wild in all the best ways but Why Visit America isn't just a triumph of weirdness - these stories use a variety of skewed lenses to offer smart critiques of the systems and beliefs humming through so much of American life. They also somehow manage to be, always, a ton of fun to readThis is the first of its kind, a work born of a deep understanding and a philosophical awareness of how things are. Over a century ago James Joyce aimed to write a moral history of his country: Matthew Baker has achieved that for his own. At the end of this acclaimed and untouchable collection there has been horror, but what remains is loveBaker has a knack for this: for placing us in situations that are as foreseeable as they are creative; his musical, visual storytelling swaying us on-side, eliciting, 'ahs' and 'ohs', while we devour his original ideas about modern society. Within each parable, a sense of hope . It is this that makes his work most memorable (and with our current situation, relevant) long after readingBaker's prose is astonishingly crisp, whilst his imagination and storytelling prowess are masterfully original and deeply touching, causing the reader to lose themselves in this most beguiling and transforming collection - once you've read Why Visit America, you'll feel changed, you'll feel enlightened and most of all you'll be witnessing greatness
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Matthew Baker is the author of the story collection Hybrid Creatures. His stories have appeared in the Paris Review, American Short Fiction, New England Review, One Story, Electric Literature and Conjunctions, and in anthologies including Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions. A recipient of grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Commission and the MacDowell Colony, among many others, he has an MFA from Vanderbilt University, where he was the founding editor of Nashville Review. Born in Michigan, he currently lives in New York City.