Three Ways of the Saw

Overview


Fiction. A startling new voice in traditional storytelling carves out a territory all its own. The vibrant prose of this debut collection—ranging in both style and length from experimental and realistic to flash and longer form fiction—searingly probes and dissects the idea of connection and alienation with one's self, the world and others. Always gritty, often cruel, yet quietly insightful, this jagged chain of vignettes is for readers who try to hold their thoughts together with duct tape while never quite ...
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Overview


Fiction. A startling new voice in traditional storytelling carves out a territory all its own. The vibrant prose of this debut collection—ranging in both style and length from experimental and realistic to flash and longer form fiction—searingly probes and dissects the idea of connection and alienation with one's self, the world and others. Always gritty, often cruel, yet quietly insightful, this jagged chain of vignettes is for readers who try to hold their thoughts together with duct tape while never quite grasping the things they just can't seem to name.

"There's a brooding, raw, rustbelt, jazzy, Motown energy that informs the sensibility and sound of this writer, fuels his prose, and gathers this collection into a compelling whole."—Stuart Dybek

"This book is lit from within, the pages dunked in the holy water of booze and kerosene."—Peter Markus

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this debut story collection by filmmaker and multimedia artist Mullins, characters grapple with the potential of transformative experiences. In "Guilty," a suspicious Orkin exterminator reveals the girlfriend of a paranoid, stoned musician to be involved in a shoplifting ring. In "Bad Juju, 1989," a relationship on the precipice of either marriage or a break-up draws the sauced beau, Hal, to a New Orleans cemetery where a wish on a tombstone has unexpected consequences. A storm-beaten honey locust tree in need of felling reveals three characters' inner machinations in the titular story—in short, we meet characters burdened by the past, but on the edge of something new. It's refreshing, therefore, to be vaulted through a concrete present, as in "The Braid," featuring 20-somethings Alex and Sondra, "two of this world's beautiful people...flawless in their faces and bodies." "No sad backstories here," Mullins notes in a bit of tasteless foreshadowing, but after Sondra's scalp gets ripped off in an ATV accident and Alex—acting on a dubious impulse—keeps her oil-stained braid, Mullins writes that Alex is simply "a reminder that everything comes apart eventually, if only to become something else." While relatively innocuous, this passage reveals Mullins' tendency to editorialize on the action, rendering potentially powerful moments self-conscious and stale. Like the beautiful, ruined honey locust, these stories might announce themselves more powerfully if left to fall according to their natural inclinations. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780983208068
  • Publisher: Atticus Books
  • Publication date: 2/29/2012
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Matt Mullins is a writer, musician, experimental filmmaker and multimedia artist. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Mid-American Review, Pleiades, Hunger Mountain, Harpur Palate, Descant, Hobart, and a number of other print and online literary journals. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Ball State University (BSU) where he is a faculty fellow with BSU's Emerging Media Initiative.
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