The Legacy of a Wisconsin Writer Revisited
by Matthew Bey
“So much stays behind when a man dies,” Bestlonic says. “You could rebuild Finch from what we have left of him.”
Together we walk the three blocks to downtown Chippewa Falls, and he tells me why Finch is the greatest writer who ever lived.
We talk mainly about the “Biter” series. It doesn’t take much to get Bestlonic raving about these stories. The most cited story in the series, the eponymous “Biter,” tells the tale of a man who finds a note in his jacket pocket that prompts him to eat his own extremities, methodically avoiding blood loss and undue trauma in the process. The story is nearly 30,000 words long, surprisingly little of which is gruesome depictions of auto-cannibalism. The bulk of the text concentrates on the “unthinkable horror” written on that slip of paper. Finch never states outright what that might be, presumably because it would cause the readership to imitate the hero’s compulsive mutilation. He merely reveals that the phrase is twelve words long, and we should be very careful what we read.