praise for ALLEGHENY FRONT

  May 2016 (  Sarabande Books )

May 2016 (Sarabande Books)

“Sometimes lyrical, sometimes scarifying stories. . . . Within that setting of crags, foreboding forests, and onrushing creeks, Null finds poetry and moments that can sometimes bear something like grace.”
Kirkus, starred review

“Violence is inevitable in these stories . . . but there is plenty of beauty, too. The scope of the collection contains voices from multiple generations, and the result is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a distinctive region of North America, as well as an exercise in finding the universal in the particular.”
Publishers Weekly (Top Summer Books, 2016)

“This remarkable story collection . . . is a clear-eyed look at an area that has been torn apart for more than a century. . . . Together these stories show the human and natural calamity that follows when an entire region is seen merely as a resource to be carved up, mined and sold. Null never yields to nihilism, but captures the rich and complex, if imperfect, lives of the dispossessed.”
The New York Times Book Review

"The nine stories in the collection are masterpieces of brutality and beauty, as Null casts a naturalistic eye on the raw reality of life in the hills, mines and backwoods of the “Wild, Wonderful” state, as its license plates insist. Each story is so carefully plotted, you simply cannot predict what will happen next, and only by the end will you be able to see the thematic complexity in Null’s mind. It will wash over you like an epiphany. . . . Null applies a poet’s voice and vision to the depiction of life and death in a world that is neither cruel or merciful, but, rather, spinning through time exhibiting only indifference to the hopes and sorrows of its passengers. This is the work of a master storyteller."
The San Francisco Chronicle

“Like the beads and baubles in a child’s kaleidoscope, turned and reflected in bright sunlight, various aspects of Appalachia—history, geography, politics, and personalities—are expertly examined and illuminated in Matthew Neill Null’s new story collection Allegheny Front. . . . In this beautiful and finely crafted collection we come to see how, in the Appalachia of both past and present, the inevitability of change may be the only constant.” 
Oxford American

“Matthew Neill Null’s new story collection, Allegheny Front . . . hews to geologic time. Some of the stories read like historical fiction in the Faulknerian mode, surrounded by a universal nostalgia without sentimentality. Allegheny Front is about the history of a specific place, one that adds up to more than simple Civil War stories, pioneer lore, and weekend camping tales, it’s about the cold passage of eons that might trivialize his character’s stories, were those stories in other hands—these brief flashes of struggle and disappointment are the reasons we consider time at all.”
The Paris Review Daily, Staff Pick

“Prodigious in vision, and lushly evocative, Allegheny Front will undoubtedly solidify Matthew Neill Null’s reputation as one of the most ecologically and morally conscious writers working in fiction today.” 
The Masters Review

“The language of Allegheny Front is elegant, image-rich and lyrical without calling special attention to itself. The book is wonderfully free of the usual Appalachian cornpone, and yet [has] an unerring, loving, respectful ear for the way natives of West Virginia of all backgrounds speak and think.”
Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule

“Matthew Neill Null is one of the most powerful writers to come along in some time. He’s got vision and music and a keen sense of the dire. He’s making things fresh again.”
Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask and Venus Drive

Allegheny Front strikes like a cold snap in the high desert, disrupting our civilized somnambulism. . . . In meditations profound and profane, Matthew Neill Null reintroduces us to life’s lost language, the world in half shadow, and the harmonic wilderness within, never hitting a false note. Engaging, satisfying, bursting with language that will leave you tongue drunk, and your mind split to the quick, Allegheny Front . . . will not leave you unchanged. Read Null and recall the fundamental awe of being alive. Beautiful. Haunting. True.”
T. Geronimo Johnson, author of Welcome to Braggsville 

“Rich in history, speech, incident, flora, fauna, vernacular, geology, politics—Matthew Neill Null’s work is dazzling. It’s hard to believe this is fiction and not the first-hand account of the spirit of a place and time long past.  He seems to know every shrub and burrow, how it formed, who owned it from the first European settlement and before. If anything ever happened in the state of West Virginia, Null knows the long and short of it, and will make its story sing.”
Salvatore Scibona, author of The End