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I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  36 reviews
I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying, a novel in flash fiction, is a raw, honest look at parenting, commitment, morality, and the spaces that grow between and within us when we don't know what to say. In these 115 titled chapters, a man, who learns he has a 5-year-old son, is caught between the life he knows and a life he may not yet be ready for. This is a book that tears down ...more
Paperback, First Edition, 138 pages
Published February 2013 by Civil Coping Mechanisms
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  178 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Each vignette, snippet, flash is rounded like a wee pebble--indeed what I've always thought flash fiction novels could be. You know, pearls on a string.

& the daily dramas of an immature father meeting his loin-product could be pathos-filled. Or comedic. And we've seen this before. So perhaps a more bombastic, less clichéd theme, would have made the stories truly flare, like a certain kite on a novel's whimsical cover.
Matthew Salesses
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
First chapter:

The Night I Met Her She Said Once You Go Yellow

The boy I still wasn't sure was mine stared at the wash of starfish stinking on the sand and said something boyish about the ocean being big and cruel. I tried to tell him the starfish weren't all dead yet, but he knew enough already to tell the difference. So I lied more. I told him that starfish were even better than lizards, that if you broke off a dead piece of them it grew back alive. His mother, a one-night stand, had told him ab
Feb 05, 2013 added it
Formally interesting, emotionally uncomfortable, lots to admire here.
Peter Tieryas
My review at HTMLgiant:

"Koi fish have hundreds of scales that form a protective armor around them. Matthew Salesses’s I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying is a collection of 115 flash fictions that, like those scales, explore the spoken and unspoken nuances that connect and glue relationships in all their misfit forms."
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying by Matthew Salesses
(released February 2013 / Civil Coping Mechanisms)
4 Stars - Flashiest of the Fiction
Read 3/13

A very interesting book, this, and another potential cheat from me. Called a novel in flash fiction, I prefer to look at it as a collection of interconnected stories. Either way, it's written by a guy who knows the confusion of love and the power of hidden secrets coming to light.

I read this at the exact inappropriate time, without realizing it until I w
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Such a unique read; a novel in flash fictions! And I really love the endings. Matthew has a beautiful way of ending a story that both wraps things up and leaves you curious. Once I picked it up, I didn't want to stop reading. Cliché. I KNOW. BUT ALSO TRUE! I carried it from room to room with me and read it in the carpool line, any chance I got. I love the little titles of the shorts and the cover is v. pretty. Goodstuff here, indeed. ...more
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-book
This novella told in flashes follows the story of the narrator, a reluctant father, as he navigates relationships with his newly discovered son, the various women in his life, and his parents who really want him to just be a good Korean boy.

If you want to know more, check out the latest issue of my podcast at

Mario Zambrano
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Moments of absolute beauty. From page to page, a father comes to terms with his son, his wife, and his place in the world. By the end these vignettes make up the portrait of a tender and thoughtful narrator. It's after you've read the last line, when you step back, when you realize how beautiful the painting is. ...more
Stanley Dankoski
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Matthew Salesses masterfully infuses each word, each sentence, each flash/chapter with raw emotion, tension and characterization. Everything is laid bare with only as many words as necessary. Gut wrenching, funny and brutal. And tender.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You MUST read I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying by Matthew Salesses. It's amazing. I don't know how someone can fit so much power and depth into so few words. His writing is masterful. I love it. Buy this book.

When you're done and you want more, check out his novella The Last Repatriate.
J. A.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
The beauty here is how aptly and fluidly Salesses uses flash / short form "chapters" to build a narrative that still feels full and smart. This is a good writer at work. ...more
Amanda Deo
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Hands down, still my favourite book of 2013 thus far. The short prose really does it for me, and the way Salesses has mastered this craft is something I can only dream about. Each prose piece transitioned perfectly into the next with a well-crafted storyline that was as human as human gets. Mid-novel I was already in the narrator's headspace; we were already friends and I wanted to take him out for a drink to pick his brain about his situation. I saw a lot of my almost-30 year old choices/questi ...more
Michael Seidlinger
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Real life is fragmented akin to the wonderful lost-and-found of these flash fictions.
Julianne Stueben
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved how effortlessly the mini chapters all flowed together, for a short book it packed a big punch
Tyrell Shavers
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m glad I ended up reading this novel. I hesitated for some time to open it and start the first chapter because at the time I was looking for something more fast paced and didn’t expect this book to be it, but when I did it just took me in for a ride. I think that part of it is the easiness of the read. It’s like a song, it just flows nice, and it makes me think without overburdening me. The story is of parenthood of oneself and those we bring into the world, those that we are ultimately respon ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Not my favorite work of Salesses but not because it isn't good, just because it seems more like poetry than fiction.

Each chapter - some short and some longer - tells part of the story but can stand on its own.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book made me feel like I walked into the middle of the movie where the character only uses pronouns and I had to work WAY to hard to figure out what the hell was going on.
Corey D Harrill
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book . The several times I’ve read his column in The Good Men Project made me feel like I walked away a better person.
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Microprose - very poetic. Lots of emotion packed into the not-so-mundane details of everyday life.
Xian Xian
I never really read flash fiction, not because I didn't like them, but because I never really knew much about the genre, and never liked reading on the internet since a lot of it is published online. For those who are familiar with Nouvella authors, you would probably know who Matthew Salesses is. The extra S's in his last name is kind of scary, I keep feeling like I'm missing one.

So the story of this novel is about a guy whose life gets flipped around, when a boy who claims that he is his son w
Mark Keats
Matthew Salesses' short flash novel is both poetic and pithy, often leaving me fulfilled and at times wanting to know more. There is subtlety in the pathos presented and it is often tinged with the right amount of surface level humor where neither necessarily takes over. This allows the story itself to progress seamlessly despite the spaces. However, the more I thought about the individual scenes, some merely a paragraph, others a full page, and the collective whole, the more I thought about the ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this short story in two evenings and one lunch afternoon at work. When it ended so unexpectedly that I wanted more. I thought to myself, "This is it?" I was expecting a dramatic conclusion; perhaps, a moral atonement for his multiple relationships. However, without a dramatic conclusion allow the characters to be real to me the way the relationship between the father and the son gradually progress.

I had never came across an author using the word "sadder" before, nor write a narrative with
Saarah Niña
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From my Goodreads account, but I purchased it from Amazon

I've never read this sort of novel before, at first I didn't understand it. But once I got the feel of it, I didn't stop reading. It portrayed beauty, denial, regret, loneliness and finally, acceptance. I liked it, I hope I will have another opportunity to read a flash fiction.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
A quick read. Engaging and thought provoking. Reads like poetry. Premise: A young, single man who struggles with relationships and monogamy is left to care for his 5-year-old son. While it may sound like a story line that's been overplayed, the raw, honest voice Salesses gives his main character makes reading the book a visceral experience. ...more
Jun 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I received this book from Goodreads. It is quite different then any other book I have read before. I have never read a novel in flash fiction. It was interesting to see how the main character came to terms with being a parent when he learns he has a son.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Listen to the podcast review at ...more
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is full of over a thousand amazing sentences, in addition to the wonderful turns of phrase that title each chapter. It's a true one-of-a-kind, as a novel in flash fiction. ...more
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Different than anything I've read before. Sometimes it's murky, sometimes it smacks you in the face. It really got to me. Salesses is a great new voice. ...more
Jan 01, 2014 added it
It seems to come from a twisty, whirring, whole other world entirely.

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Bestselling author of The Hundred-Year Flood and Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, among other books. Craft in the Real World comes out Jan, 2021. I’m adopted.

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