Appleseed: A Novel (Hardcover)

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"Woven together out of the strands of myth, science fiction, and ecological warning, Matt Bell’s Appleseed is as urgent as it is audacious." --Kelly Link, Get in Trouble

A "work of incandescent imagination" (Karen Russell) from Young Lions Fiction Award–finalist Matt Bell, a breakout book that explores climate change, manifest destiny, humanity's unchecked exploitation of natural resources, and the small but powerful magic contained within every single apple. 

In eighteenth-century Ohio, two brothers travel into the wooded frontier, planting apple orchards from which they plan to profit in the years to come. As they remake the wilderness in their own image, planning for a future of settlement and civilization, the long-held bonds and secrets between the two will be tested, fractured and broken—and possibly healed.

Fifty years from now, in the second half of the twenty-first century, climate change has ravaged the Earth. Having invested early in genetic engineering and food science, one company now owns all the world’s resources. But a growing resistance is working to redistribute both land and power—and in a pivotal moment for the future of humanity, one of the company’s original founders will return to headquarters, intending to destroy what he helped build.

A thousand years in the future, North America is covered by a massive sheet of ice. One lonely sentient being inhabits a tech station on top of the glacier—and in a daring and seemingly impossible quest, sets out to follow a homing beacon across the continent in the hopes of discovering the last remnant of civilization.

Hugely ambitious in scope and theme, Appleseed is the breakout novel from a writer “as self-assured as he is audacious” (NPR) who “may well have invented the pulse-pounding novel of ideas” (Jess Walter). Part speculative epic, part tech thriller, part reinvented fairy tale, Appleseed is an unforgettable meditation on climate change; corporate, civic, and familial responsibility; manifest destiny; and the myths and legends that sustain us all. 

About the Author

Matt Bell is the author of the novels Scrapper and In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods, as well as the short story collection A Tree or a Person or a Wall, a non-fiction book about the classic video game Baldur's Gate II, and several other titles. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, Conjunctions, Fairy Tale Review, American Short Fiction, and many other publications. A native of Michigan, he teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.

Praise For…

"Appleseed is a work of incandescent imagination, at once an eco-horror story about human greed and a regenerative new myth. I loved the soaring possibilities seeded throughout this wild novel, which pushes its readers to imagine 'new ways of dwelling' in and with non-human nature. Bell's book is a chrysalis inside of which I could feel my mind changing, preparing for new flights." 
— Karen Russell, author of Orange World

"The reason you’ve never read a book like Appleseed is that there’s never been a book like Appleseed. The scary thing, though, is this is a world you might recognize. This premise, this content, this form, this language—only Matt Bell could have given us this novel."
— Stephen Graham Jones, author of The Only Good Indians

"Woven together out of the strands of myth, science fiction, and ecological warning, Matt Bell’s Appleseed is as urgent as it is audacious." 

— Kelly Link, Get in Trouble

“There’s a particular thrill reading a book that has such certainty of vision, one that guides every page and allows us to truly picture the connections between our past and our future. We see the naturalist’s mind placed in the realm of the imagination as a way to try to grasp what’s happening to our planet right now. It’s a beautiful tribute to what fiction can do, and these characters and their visceral struggles will remain with me for a long time.” 
— Aimee Bender, author of The Butterfly Lampshade

"Myth meets science; fable confronts existential crisis. In its bountiful prose, gleeful genre-hopping, and the sheer scope of its storytelling, Appleseed points toward hopeful futures for literature—and the planet."
—  Sam J. Miller, Nebula-Award-winning author of Blackfish City

 "Matt Bell's Appleseed expands in the most entrancing manner to encompass everything from the hidden hoofs of fauns to the pending doom of the planet. What a sui generis feat of imagination and scope this novel is." 
— Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew

"A fearless and harrowing meditation on the ruination and transformation of cities and of people; but amid loss and destruction, Bell finds a strain of piercing hope. This is an extraordinary book."
— Emily St. John Mandel, New York Times bestselling author of Station Eleven, on Scrapper

“It's hard to imagine a book more difficult to pull off, but Bell proves as self-assured as he is audacious . . . Bell's novel isn't just a joy to read, it's also one of the smartest meditations on the subjects of love, family and marriage in recent years . . . The novel is a monument to the uniqueness of every relationship, the possibility that love itself can make the world better, though of course it's never easy.”
— NPR on In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

“For readers weary of literary fiction that dutifully obeys the laws of nature, here’s a story that stirs the Brothers Grimm and Salvador Dali with its claws . . . as gorgeous as it is devastating.”
— Washington Post on In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

"This is a fiercely original book—at once intimate and epic, visceral and philosophical—that sent me scurrying for adjectives, for precedents, for cover. Matt Bell commands the page with bold, vigorous prose and may well have invented the pulse-pounding novel of ideas."
— Jess Walter

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063040144
ISBN-10: 006304014X
Publisher: Custom House
Publication Date: July 13th, 2021
Pages: 480
Language: English