Riots and Broken Bones Inspire a Gritty Debut Story Collection

On sale February 29, 2012


Three Ways of the Saw
by Matt Mullins



“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, The Coast of Chicago



KENSINGTON, MD — A gritty debut of alienation, longing, and redemption, Matt Mullins’ Three Ways of the Saw (Atticus Books, $14.95) unites ragged characters with themes reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s novels.

“He who touches this book touches the ghost of a man still living,” Mullins says about Three Ways of the Saw. Structured into three sections—Black Sheep Missives, Dischords, and Ghost Limbs—the twenty stories are bound by the characters’ self-destruction and their yearning for an authentic connection with the world, one that the author shares.

“One night I wandered off from a good party, returned to find a riot in progress, and threw the bicycle I’d stolen into the bonfire because I thought I had something to say that hadn’t been said already,” Mullins says, describing an incident from his time as an undergraduate at Michigan State University in the late eighties.  “I’ve broken my nose a few times playing sports and fighting. I’ve broken a couple toes… I keep thinking I’m too old now, too careful and hedgy to break a bone. But then again, things happen, don’t they?”

With sharp attention to language and imagery, Mullins’ vibrant prose ranges from the experimental to the realistic and searingly dissects the idea of alienation. With a startling new voice in traditional storytelling that carves out a territory all its own, Three Ways of the Saw doesn’t shy away from the human condition—it embodies it.


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 where he is a faculty fellow with the Emerging Media Initiative. His recent works of interactive/digital literature can be found at Read excerpts, find info about readings, and more at his blog.

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