Fiction. If you've ever suspected that time doesn't flow as linearly as it pretends to, that it slows down, speeds up and sometimes just goes totally off the rails, then meet Johnny Sundays—the protagonist of THE SECRET CORRESPONDENCE OF LOON & FIASCO. Johnny flees California's Central Valley when he realizes he's become (un)stuck. He makes his way to Chicago where time inexplicably starts to clack forward again, only to fall impossibly in love with a computer program, a chatbot named ALICE. "Meet me on a heathered mountain," she says one night—and she has him. Meanwhile his estranged wife finds herself suddenly drawn to the island of São Miguel and to the ghost of a girl her powerful sorceress grandmother cursed in her youth. Unsure what awaits her on the island of her ancestors, she draws ever closer to the unspoken something that cleaves them apart even as it draws them towards one another. In this flash-novella you'll find encrypted codes, AI, folk magic, ruminations on sex chat, and what awaits you "at the steps of the crab-wracked and barnacled rock," beneath the heavy Atlantic.
"Carlo Matos takes a mystical sense of Azorean displacement and spins a delightful cat's-cradle spanning from Fall River to California and featuring the burrito-seeking Johnny and Linda, a teacher in the dying Central Valley. 'Fiasco' speaks in binary code to a Loon trying to map out the natural world, only to discover that 'When you have no sense of direction... walls are essential to survival.' Lizzie Borden is a patron saint, turkey vultures circle, and Groundhog Day is an anthem as Matos's poetry offers a fresh view of the Portuguese-American experience."—Katherine Vaz
"In THE SECRET CORRESPONDENCE OF LOON & FIASCO, Carlo Matos celebrates 'the Lloyd Dobler generation' while simultaneously cataloging its disillusionment. Wildly and refreshingly allusive, this book teaches the 'very ancient and powerful biology' that separates the human from the machine. Matos is magician and mathematician as he crafts these micro narratives through the eyes of Johnny Sundays and his chat room alter-ego, Fiasco. Both Fiasco's missives to Loon and his robotically charming repartee with ALICE betray a deep sense of nostalgia, a longing for people and places left behind, for families and homes of origin."—Sara Tracey
"Matos's strange terrain of a book is 'a fado full of saudades,' where jellybeans signal sadness, and automatons break hearts. As we spiral down the rabbit hole of this offbeat and marvelous manuscript, we encounter fictional and nonfictional notables such as Charlie Brown, Heathcliff, and Lizzie Borden, as well as the charming chatbot ALICE, who continually surprises and seduces. Matos maps out a magical misfit of a novel(la)—a love letter to the technological age—that is absorbing, ingenious, speculative, and poignant. In the words of ALICE: 'Meet me on a heathered mountain,' and read this book to me, please."—Simone Muench
Carlo Matos is a bisexual-plus author who has published ten books, including The Quitters, (Tortoise Books, 2017) and IT'S BEST NOT TO INTERRUPT HER EXPERIMENTS. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in such journals as Hobart, DMQ Review, and PANK, among others. He currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, is a professor at the City Colleges of Chicago and a former MMA fighter.
Author City: CHICAGO, IL USA