A collection of ten short-short stories, some of which previously appeared in journals such as Storyglossia, No Colony, Juked, SmokeLong Quarterly, Night Train, elimae, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.



“Matt Bell is a beautiful contradiction, a romanticist who wields his pen without mercy. In How the Broken Lead the Blind, Bell’s eye for the small details that bind is undeniable. His collection of short-short stories wastes no time with extraneous prattle, delivering instead characters and tales that rattle the senses with stark surprise. In an uncompromisingly good gathering of fiction, Bell gives us worlds upon worlds through the imagination and observations of a gifted new talent.” —Steven Gillis, author of Temporary People

“Matt Bell writes startling stories about personal connections, how they break under the slightest pressure, how they mend—all stories in which occur fantastic little twists: a severed hand appears, a piano gives up its secret, disoriented geese tumble from the sky. How the Broken Lead the Blind is a useful relationship manual for those of us still waiting to receive our very own hair box.” Ryan Callauthor of The Weather Stations

“There is an insistent rhythm in everything Matt Bell writes. Not the thudding hammer blows of fraudulent drama, not the drip of leaking satire, certainly not the jolly click and tap of a story that could be–ought to have been–texted. It’s gentle and enormously powerful: the beating of a heart. It’s hard not to think of Bell’s work as a living, breathing thing–which is in fact what it is, holding us in its ebb and flow, consoling and inspiring us the way real, true art always has and always will.” Gary Amdahl, author of Visigoth and I am Death

“These stories are at once big-hearted and humorous, containing many surprising truths. The writing is measured and penetrating, precise but with warmth. Matt Bell is a maker of fine fictions.” —William Walsh, author of Without Wax and Questionstruck

“Matt Bell can do what so many fiction writers can’t: Matt Bell can make anything happen.” —Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody and How the Family Got Away

How the Broken Lead the Blind punctures relationships, bleeds the surreal, threads gut-punches through needles. An absolutely brilliant read.” —J. A. Tyler, author of Everyone in This is Either Dying or Will Die or is Thinking of Death and The Girl in the Black Sweater

“Matt Bell has an uncanny ability to cut to our inner needs, our fears and desires, our wishes to be both with another, yet to be alone at the same time. The stories within How the Broken Lead the Blind will reel you in from sentence to wonderful sentence, and leave you wanting more.”mDan Wickett, Director of Dzanc Books, founder of Emerging Writers Network

“Like a perfect rock album, Matt Bell’s How the Broken Lead the Blind both celebrates and explodes the form. The form here is flash fiction, and while there may be others who are doing it as well, there is certainly nobody better than Bell. Like the songs on Sgt. Pepper or Odelay or Paul’s Boutique or [insert name of genre-busting, wildly inventive and eminently satisfying album here], each of these stories offers a jump-cut into the pain, fear, hope, joy, and questions of everyday life. Which is to say, Matt Bell does in 500 or 1000 words what it takes most writers–if they’re lucky, talented, innovative, and soulful–about five times the space to accomplish.” Dave Housley, editor of Barrelhouse, author of Ryan Seacrest is Famous

“Matt Bell delivers ten inventive stories rich in language, ideas and catharsis that will leave you hungering for his next collection.” —Steven McDermott, editor of Storyglossia, author of Winter of Different Directions

“Matt Bell’s short-short stories gush with intricate details of love, loss, and sorrow. Each story holds a miracle waiting to be unearthed, as if this young writer was in all our lives, recording those subtle, key moments that pass quietly but speak to us forever. He is a writer with so much to say, but like with those moments, he understands they don’t have to be loud, or long, to bestow their greatest impact.” —Michael Czyzniejewski, author of Elephants in Our Bedroom

“Many of these stories take place in a personal limbo, on a razor’s edge where things could turn out well or turn out badly. We don’t usually stick around to learn the result, but Bell gives us enough to go on. In the title story, a blind woman whose seeing eye dog has been spoiled from too many treats goes running and experiences a delicious loss of control before her inevitable crash. On a sentence level throughout the collection, Bell finds moments like these and uses propulsive, almost metrical language—often with skillful short sentences—to create from them the sense of foreboding and imminent surprise we have come to expect from flash fiction.” —Steven Wingate at The Short Review

“It’s canny of Bell to tip off his authorial focus early… He writes, “Resist denouement, resist the solving of mysteries and the revealing of truths, because it is in these things that you may be judged.” …Bell is exceptionally good at writing in such a way that nothing ever seems to be lacking. This is what I’m most fond of in Bell’s writing, what continues to strike me each time I read it: in abstraction, it is never alienating. Complete from every first sentence, How the Broken Lead the Blind is always unresolved, always resolving.” —Adam Robinson at Gently Read Literature

“Surely, 'How the Broken Lead the Blind Until They Both Become Something Else Entirely”’(Jesus, what a title!) is the best work in the chapbook. It flows, it blooms, runs forward like the endearing and rather remarkable characters of a blind woman, her seeing-eye dog, both on 'new found running legs,’ both 'accidental artists’ in their running free, acceleration and verve, embrace of possibility, of crash, of actual free-will-ness–finally. Everything about this story is surprising, yet inevitable. A well-wrought thing, this art.” —Sean Lovelace at The Chapbook Review

“Matt Bell does something to me, something altering, chemically altering, that makes me feel like I’ve come face to face with something ungodly beautiful, still partially obscured by my limits of comprehension, each time I finish one of his stories. He finds a depth beneath his stories that, at times, seems limitless, unknowable, perhaps more efficiently, more effectively, and more consistently than any writer currently stitching together words.” —David Peak, at Ghost Factory

“In Bell’s How the Broken Lead the Blind, most of the stories depict a disruption or break from routine, such as a blind woman allowing her seeing eye dog to run unrestrained while she is dragged along behind knowing full well how their unchecked motion will end. But those endings, however inevitable they seem in the story, don’t actually come — there’s a sense that consequences will follow the disruptive moments, but the stories tend to end with the disruptions instead of reaching their aftermaths." —Steve Himmer, at Tawny Grammar

“The trajectories of each of these pieces are carefully calculated, and they are, but in a way that eschews collision. In the end, the parts dance around each other with the persistence of a Swiss watch, meshing together with geared teeth. And I think that while those teeth do draw real blood on occasion, this collection has a true heart and belief that we can reach out to each other, even as it challenges us to examine our ideas about the way we communicate and interact.” —Todd B. Stevens at FlashFiction.Net