Read 3/20/10 - 3/23/10
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended
Many thanks must go out to Matty Byloos. He is the author of the short story collection entitled "Don't Smell the Floss", and he so wonderfully sent me a copy to review.
As many of you may be aware, I have recently found a new appreciation for the short story. It allows an author more 'play' space to let their imagination run farther and faster than a full length novel would. It grants them the opportunity to try out multiple POV's and story lines, showing the reader exactly what the author is capable of. Some collections of short stories are tied closely together - Ben Tanzer's eBook "Repetition Patterns" links his stories by placing them all in the same town, living on the same streets, shopping at the same stores. Others, like "Please:Fiction Inspired by the Smiths" share a similar theme, and are a mish-mosh of stories written by multiple authors.
Matty's collection demonstrates his flexibity as a writer. While his stories share no common location or obvious surface theme, there is definitely a darker, seedier, and sometimes humorous vein of humanity connecting them beneath the skin. Trading one POV for another, each stand alone story bears it's teeth and demands to be noticed.
In "One Day, Letter From Ghost Leg", Byloos explores the twisted world of Apotemnophilia - or the obsession of self demanded amputation - and the effect our narrators particular fixation has on his leg. "A Brief History of the Tupperware Party" introduces us as the freakishly hairy character of the story, in which our mind is capable of no thoughts other than how hideously hairy and beastly we are. The hero in "Stories Leading up to, and Some Including E. Leon Spaughy" learns to come to terms with a talking skunk that has been following him around town for months. And in "My Friend the Pornographer", we meet a young man on the set of his first camera shoot for a porn film, and watch him fall hopelessly in love with it's star.
As I experienced "Don't Smell the Floss", I found myself wondering, at times, how much of Matty's message I was really getting. I admit that some of the stories went a bit above my head, but I didn't let that bother me. I sat back and let the stories tell themselves. And I thoroughly enjoyed them. Matty has a way of making the strangest, most bizarre situation seem like something that could happen to you or someone you know.
Read this book. You know you want to. You can hear it calling you.
For more information on Write Bloody Books, the publishing company, click here. This is their first published work of fiction.
Keep an eye out out for an interview with Matty Byloos, coming soon.