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McIntosh, Matthew

190 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0571220150 / ISBN 13: 9780571220151
Published by Faber & Faber, 2003
Used Condition: Very Good
From Better World Books (Mishawaka, IN, U.S.A.)

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Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP78284338

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Well

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Publication Date: 2003

Book Condition:Very Good

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


An astonishing and unmissable debut from an exceptional talent Set in a working class suburb of Seattle, Matthew McIntosh's devastatingly beautiful first novel, Well, charts the lives of a vast cast of characters grappling with dark compulsions and heartrending afflictions. These are trapped people searching for escape or comfort in sex, drugs and violence, visions of apocalypse and creation, angels and killers. A brilliant meditation on the strength we have to recover from our failures, Well demonstrates McIntosh's unflinching vision and capacity for compassion. Wrought with emotion and sensitivity, Well is already being talked about as one of the most significant and daring debuts in American fiction for some time.


In his debut novel Well, Matthew McIntosh has produced an impressive, unsettling portrait of the inhabitants of Federal Way, Washington, a blue-collar suburb of Seattle. This book is less a novel than a collage of voices (mostly first-person, sometimes disembodied) unified by their disparate attempts to overcome (or at least come to terms with) physical and emotional pain, addiction, loss, dysfunctional and withering relationships, and other common, but intensely personal, problems. Most striking is that these citizens are acutely aware of their flaws, describing their most intimate thoughts and stories with a twinge of sadness, as if confessing--but not making excuses--for their actions. Some are hopeful, most are resigned, and there is a sense of entrapment among the characters, a realization that they may not have the strength, patience or even a clue how to change for the better. They tell us their strange dreams, fantasies, describe fleeting feelings of self-control.

Of the few, more traditional short stories, "Fishboy" is strongest, wherein a high-school student realizes finally that his obsession with a classmate is unhealthy. In "Gunman," McIntosh creates a faux news report of a bus driver's random shooting, containing a succinct elucidation of what drives these folks to speak: "Why do these things happen? What is it that allows them to happen? We wonder if there is a higher order to the universe. We wonder if there is a higher order to our world, at least. We report that our world is falling apart. And we report that we are falling apart." With the proof in the writing, not the ambitiousness or media fanfare, Well is a hauntingly memorable book from a refreshing, new voice. --Michael Ferch

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