Fiction. In a text that doubles back on itself, revising and reinventing its own trajectory several times over, THE MUDDY SEASON is an excavation into narrative form and political oppression. Set in the steaming jungle of a colonial dystopia somewhere in the developing world, THE MUDDY SEASON depicts the struggle of an indigenous village to maintain its freedom and dignity in the face of the repressive policies of a racialized bureaucratic state. The villagers alternately press back and stand by as armed forces arrive to impose their tyrannical will: removing newborn babies from their mothers for indoctrination in the capital. Against the backdrop of poverty and overt political conflict, Matthew Raymond presents us with the complex inner struggle of the government agent tasked with overseeing the removal of the infants. As he carries out his duty on behalf of the state, the agent finds himself caught between bureaucratic obligation and his own burgeoning desires. At once enthralling and unflinching, brutal and impassioned, THE MUDDY SEASON is a sophisticated, narratively complex story that is as alluring as it is dark.
"'Pulling her blue and wet from her mother and saying quietly, Life is suffering, the midwife smacked her'-and, thus, the reader finds herself thrust into the damp murk of afterbirth and the muddy season: into an absolutely captivating story that is as unflinching as it is bewitching. Told in four parts, THE MUDDY SEASON is a sophisticated, scorching story whose narrative choreography unfurls in an electrifying dance between soldiers and villagers, a girl and an agent. With a literary nod to the great innovative novelists Julio Cortázar and John Fowles, Raymond upends conventional fiction, while maintaining the brutal realism of the world's bureaucracies and oppressions. Analogous to the two central characters in section IV, in which one character leads and the other trails 'into the dark of the jungle beyond,' when this author beckons, I too must follow." —Simone Muench
"Matthew Raymond's THE MUDDY SEASON is a beguiling and prismatic gem of short fiction, yet bursting with a novel's share of action, drama, pathos, and idea. In it, Raymond has precision-extracted the best of Cormac McCarthy and Graham Greene and injected the resulting mixture into a universe out of Kafka. Painterly, structurally inventive and darkly moving." —Adrian Van Young
Matthew Raymond teaches English in California. His stories have appeared in Oyster Boy Review and Euphony. His poems have appeared in Parcel, Beloit Poetry Journal, Permafrost, Grasslands, and Sulphur River Literary Review. His chapbook, THE MUDDY SEASON, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in fall 2016.
Author City: AROMAS, CA USA