Ten tales of misfits in big cities and lonely backwaters, striving to free themselves from traps of their own making
In each of Bell’s ten stories, characters struggle through trying times, captives of their own bad decisions or plain bad luck. In “Black and Tan,” a farmer’s fortitude after the tragic death of his family leads him to become a savior of delinquent boys. The title story charts a London student’s crumbling psyche. And in “Petit Cachou” hustlers and panhandlers in the French Riviera experience the darker side of life on a seemingly perfect stretch of the Mediterranean coastline. While depicting characters both sympathetic and hopeless, Bell’s remarkable insight makes for a vivid rendering of civilization’s many frayed edges. Barking Man is the author’s second collection of stories, and presents Bell’s writing at its most unforgettable.