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Why Visit America

By Matthew Baker
Why Visit America by Matthew Baker digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

Equal parts speculative and satirical, the stories in Why Visit America form an exegesis of our current political predicament, while offering an eloquent plea for connection and hope.

The citizens of Plainfield, Texas, have had it with the broke-down United States. So they vote to secede, rename themselves America in memory of their former country, and happily set themselves up to receive tourists from their closest neighbor: America. Couldn’t happen? Well, it might, and so it goes in the thirteen stories in Matthew Baker’s brilliantly illuminating, incisive, and heartbreaking collection Why Visit America.

The book opens with a seemingly traditional story in which the speculative element is extremely minimal—the narrator has a job that doesn’t actually exist—a story that wouldn’t seem much out of place in a collection of literary realism. From there the stories get progressively stranger: a young man breaks the news to his family that he is going to transition—from an analog body to a digital existence. A young woman abducts a child—her own—from a government-run childcare facility. A man returns home after committing a great crime, his sentence being that his memory—his entire life—is wiped clean.

As the book moves from universe to universe, the stories cross between different American genres: from bildungsroman to rom com, western to dystopian, including fantasy, horror, erotica, and a noir detective mystery. Read together, these parallel-universe stories create a composite portrait of the true nature of the United States and a Through the Looking-Glass reflection of who we are as a country.

8 Reviews

Surprised Face with Open Mouth
Original writingThought-provoking
“I love short story collections and really need to get around to reading the ones I have on my shelves/Kindle. Why Visit America was recommended to me by some excellent bookstagrammers whose opinion I really trust so I decided to prioritise it in my #wasitworththebump challenge. ⁣ ⁣ This collection consists of both speculative and satirical tales which portray a country eerily familiar to our own and in some cases, suggests future developments that may not be far beyond the realm of mankind. As with all short story collections, I connected with some stories more than others but I was delighted at the sheer wealth of excellent ones compared to others that were enjoyable but didn’t blow me away. ⁣ ⁣ We learn about a world that undergoes strange new rituals when it comes near the end of someone’s life (probably my favourite story), a young man who wants to transition his entire being to a digital format, a young woman who abducts (her own) child from a government facility and a man who commits a terrible crime and is returned to his family with his memory wiped. ⁣ ⁣ These stories were powerful, impactful and thought-provoking. I never quite knew what I was going to get and I loved the unpredictability and excitement of that. If you like your fiction a bit quirky and a bit other-worldly - think Black Mirror - then this is the collection for you! Thank you to @sandladysbooks @tims_personal_library_19 and @thereaderignites for recommending such a stellar collection of stories. Was it worth the bump? Absolutely!!⁣ ⁣ 4.5 stars”
“OK...this is a collection of extraordinarily crafted short stories from the gifted mind of Matthew Baker. Now, I must tell you that buckle up, kids; the ride is a joyously bumpy one. This is a quirky book about the land of America, told in wide and varied tales that would easily find home on BBC's Black Mirror. These are surrealistic adventures in fiction where there are no rules and its pretty refreshing and fantastic, but warning: this will not be everyone's favorite cup of tea. I couldn't put it down.”

About Matthew Baker

Named one of Variety's "10 Storytellers To Watch," Matthew Baker is the author of the story collection Hybrid Creatures and the Edgar Award-nominated children's novel If You Find This. His fiction has appeared in publications including The Paris Review, American Short Fiction, One Story, Electric Literature, Conjunctions, and Best Of The Net. Born in the Great Lakes region of the United States, he currently lives in New York City.

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