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Robert Kloss

Robert Kloss is the author of How the Days of Love & Diphtheria (Mud Luscious Press/Nephew, 2011), The Alligators of Abraham (Mud Luscious Press, 2012), and the story collection In the Shadow of the Darkness of Strange Animals. He can be found online at Birds of Prey.


"Love & Diphtheria, yes: here Kloss does creation & destruction as it must be: in the same breath, a magnificent, unblinking act of remembrance & retribution, aimed at we who despite the skinless horses and burning bears would still go on, would deign to say anything at all with all this fire bursting out of people and the weird ground, and which from also comes a light."

– Blake Butler



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How the Days of Love & Diphtheria

I am reading your book right now. It is goddamn beautiful.


Via the Facebook, I told Robert Kloss, “I am reading your book right now. It is goddamn beautiful. And I might have squealed ‘oh my god now he gets a cat companion’ at one point.”

Kloss replied, “I don’t think I could put ‘love’ in the title w/out a cat companion.”

For me this cat companion is what Kloss’s How the Days of Love & Diphtheria hinges upon. Sure, the book is dark. Maybe a bit brutal. Disturbing in parts, you know, disturbing like that horrific scene from a movie you still remember and are frightened by even though you saw the movie ten years ago? The whole book is that feeling. That feeling of vomiting out of fear and then being forced to sit with your vomit. Spend time with your vomit. Maybe get to know your vomit and learn to appreciate it. A thing that’ll follow you everywhere and be disgusting and between your teeth and make you feel like shit.

But, you don’t have to feel this bad. You don’t. Because — there’s a cat companion. A beautiful white mewling kitten that’ll sleep at your feet and understand you and keep you safe. I read this book much more comfortably once the cat companion was introduced.

I’ll admit I worried about the cat. I thought, What if Kloss kills this cat? I read sentences slowly. Each page, very slowly. I thought that if I read it slowly enough, the cat would remain safe. If I crept up on the words very quietly there’d be no way for Kloss to surprise me, killing the cat. I thought, if Kloss kills the cat, I am not going to be his friend on facebook. And I needed desperately for Kloss to keep this cat safe. I wish could have spoken to him while he was writing this book and told him how important this cat’s safety was to me.

I worried maybe Kloss would sneak into my house, skin my cats and then they’d be shamed, running through the house as pink-furless cats. Kloss makes me nervous, but I don’t have to meet Kloss in real life. We can be friends on the Internet, where my cats feel safe.

And I can assume and hope (from photos on the Facebook) that Kloss is also a cat lover and this cat companion’s life was important to him. I liked to think keeping the cat safe among such danger and ruin was hard work.

How the Days of Love & Diphtheria is a beautiful object composed of thoughtfully and artfully written sentences. It amasses to much more than its parts and though it’s small, just fifty pages, the motherfucker weighs a ton.

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