Don’t Smell the Floss
Don’t Smell the Floss, Short Stories by Matty Byloos
ABOUT THE BOOK
From Matty Byloos and Write Bloody Books: Don’t Smell the Floss, the first collection of short stories on the press, published in the spring of 2009. Fourteen stories that defy logic in only the most perverse and elegant of ways.
Like pop songs that have overdosed on camera cleaning fluid and pills, Matty Byloos’s short stories are most definitely NOT traditional ideas on the subjects of love, daydreaming, and the psychological dramas that have become an unavoidable part of the human condition. Byloos, at first glance, appears to share too much; but the information is masked, skewed and filtered through a very weird, perverse universe of characters who play out human dramas underneath layers of oddity.
Byloos’s characters are confused – they’re sad, they’re searching – but in those emotional states, they’re real, easily identifiable people. Byloos takes the reader behind the scenes of lives we might not normally think about (or even want to think about) but which are no less real despite their clandestine nature.
1st Printing: Write Bloody Books 2009.
ISBN 13: 978-0982148860
Write Bloody Books Trade Paperback Edition, August 1, 2009
Edited by Derrick Brown, shea M gauer, Saadia Byram, Michael Sarnowsky, Keion Moradi-Means
Cover Design by Paul Smith; Interior Layout by Lea C. Deschenes
Type set in Helvetica Neue & Bell MT
192 pages. Distribution: SCB Distributors.
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PRAISE FOR DON’T SMELL THE FLOSS
“I was kittied to death by these stories. Matty Byloos’s fiction doesn’t go down smooth, and that’s a good thing: his sentences are hot blurts that bust rudely and hilariously into the reader’s consciousness. The revelations of Byloos’s book are many: I’m very glad I now know about ‘Momma’s little ham-glazing sessions’; I’ll never forget that ‘my couch is like a soap opera….’”
– ANDREW LELAND, The Believer
The miracles of Don’t Smell the Floss are actually the exquisite detritus of a hard working craftsman of the Word. His lines are chiseled, and like a sculptor, or a mad surgeon with a double degree in the murkier matters of psychoanalysis, he digs deep through the sinews of body and mind and often yanks back a funny bone. I’m still coughing bones back through a few of my orifices and am never the worse for wear.
– CASEY McKINNEY, writer and founding editor, The Fanzine
The dictum a rock and a hard place has shifted in the hands of Matty Byloos. Now as readers we find ourselves between a sponge and a wet blanket. The brains behind the Byloos engine are good, odd brains, rambunctious, what you want in a narrative pilot, where conscious errors abound, and unreliabilities are lavish, exact, extreme, and deader than the coyest pan of dead. Byloos is a mischievous man… they still make them in our country. They’re just hard to find.
– BENJAMIN WEISSMAN, author of Dear Dead Person and Headless
Matty Byloos’ collection of short stories is shocking, but is also so rooted in the vapidity of existence that it dulls a reader’s response neurons. For instance, there is nothing overly disturbing about a heartbroken letter that a character receives from the leg he amputated himself; the way it is presented, he could have just as well received it from an ex-lover. Byloos’ voice is dark and painstakingly omniscient, offering the most minute personal details of even transient characters that we only meet for a paragraph or two: “Turk fingers a constant rhythm with his left hand along the wooden hand of the shovel, one-two-three, one-two-three….” This does well to lift the characters from the paper and humanize them, but you never feel their anguish, you’re only vaguely curious about it, thanks to the literary lithium slipped into Byloos’ prose.
– PORTLAND MERCURY
This is one of those books that sat on my shelf for months, but when I picked it up I just devoured it in a few sittings. Byloos’s short, smart experimental fictions made my brain light up while reading them but often left me hard-pressed to describe them when I was done. Largely character-driven, unconventionally plotted, and deftly funny, these stories aren’t packed with punch lines but the writing is. I highlighted a dozen passages and scribbled random notes that had nothing to do with the stories per se, but they triggered powerful memories. These stories highjacked my imagination and took it for a joyride. Byloos is a higher order of stylist. Reading Don’t Smell the Floss is like flying a kite that has left the atmosphere; you can tug on the string, but you’re never really sure if it’s having an effect on the kite, drifting into a place between spheres.
– JIM RULAND, author of Big Lonesome
In this neurotic, humorous, and fascinating collection, Byloos presents indiscriminate topics such as “perfect coffee,” bukkake, even apotemnophilia (desire to self-amputate body parts) and scatters them across fourteen stories split in two uniquely titled halves. Take Jeff Kass’ dark humor and cross it with Murakami’s dream-like prose, throw in a little existential questioning, endearing quirks, and somewhere in all the avant-garde chaos emerges Byloos’ masterwork. Byloos holds nothing back in this tell-all book. A definite must-read.
– THE NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
The fourteen stories collected in this volume really are amazing in every sense of the word. The (at times bizarre) subject matter, however, isn’t the only thing Don’t Smell the Floss has going for it. It turns out that Byloos is an amazing (there’s that word again!) writer–a true “craftsman” of the written word, as one of the book’s blurbs rightly puts it. Stylistically, the book reads like a cross between George Saunders and Chuck Palahniuk; it’s fast-moving, occasionally gross, but always smart and funny in a disturbing “I can’t believe I just laughed at that” kind of way If you like compelling, inventive writing and you don’t flinch (too much) at fairly gritty yet matter of fact descriptions of subjects like pornography, amputation, and masturbation (each a form of loneliness in its own way), then you’ll find a lot to love in Don’t Smell the Floss.
– SMALL PRESS REVIEWS
EXCERPTS FROM DON’T SMELL THE FLOSS
“Letter to My Ex-Wife, In Need of an Explanation” @ The Fanzine, from 06.07.09
REVIEWS OF DON’T SMELL THE FLOSS
Most recent first…
12/14/2011 | reviewed by Lavinia Ludlow | @ The Nervous Breakdown
10/11/2011 | reviewed by Ben Tanzer | @ This Blog Will Change Your Life
07/24/2011 | reviewed by Jim Ruland | @ Goodreads
04/09/2010 | reviewed by Josh Christie | @ Brews and Books Blog
03/23/2010 | reviewed by Lori Hettler | @ TNBBB (The Next Best Book Blog)
02/14/2010 | reviewed by Marc Schuster | @ Small Press Reviews
08/08/2009 | reviewed by Jamie Gadette | @ The Fanzine
MORE PRESS & ETC. FOR DON’T SMELL THE FLOSS
The Next Best Book Blog: Author Interview with Matty Byloos. Conducted by Lori Hettler. April 7, 2010.
Wednesday Giveaway and Interview – Don’t Smell the Floss by Matty Byloos at Manolith. Interviewed by Chris Stout. March 31, 2010.
Portland Mercury mention/blurb for Powell’s Smallpressapalooza event, by Raquel Nasser. March 11, 2010.
Three Books I Read Recently and Loved: Christopher Higgs, Matty Byloos and Chris Goode, at Dennis Cooper’s blog. March 8, 2010.
Write-up by Wes Dildine at LA Buzz Blog, Published Thursday, June 18, 2009.
Interview with Henry Baum at Self Publishing Review, Published Monday, June 1, 2009.