From an emerging master of short fiction and one of Canada's most distinctive voices, a collection of stories as heartbreaking as those of Lorrie Moore and as hilariously off-kilter as something out of McSweeney's. In Better Living through Plastic Explosives, Zsuzsi Gartner delivers a powerful second dose of the lacerating satire that marked her acclaimed debut, All the Anxious Girls on Earth, but with even greater depth and darker humour. Whether she casts her eye on evolution and modern manhood when an upscale cul-de-sac is thrown into chaos after a redneck moves into the neighbourhood, international adoption, war photography, real estate, the movie industry, motivational speakers, or terrorism, Gartner filets the righteous and the ridiculous with dexterity in equal, glorious measure. These stories ruthlessly expose our most secret desires, and allow us to snort with laughter at the grotesque world we'd live in if we all got what we wanted.
All the Anxious Girls on Earth marks the debut of a startingly original literary voice. Zsuzsi Gartner's exuberant prose gives voice to unforgettable characters who survive by their wits as they cope with indifferent relationships, lackluster jobs, and the myriad curve-balls life throws their way.A woman calls in fake bomb threats from the nineteenth floor of a bank tower as revenge against her ex-lover. The mother of a girl killed by a teenage urban guerilla thrives spectacularly in her industrious grief, transforming herself into a forgiveness guru and talk-show host. Lured into the wilderness by her desire for a man who rebuilds vintage airplanes, a young woman finds she lusts more for biscotti and city sidewalks. A small, heroic child makes a guileless request for pajamas and creates a psychic storm at the center of her anxious, achievement-mad parents' lives.Rendered in a jittery, jazzed-up prose that has been compared to that of Lorrie Moore and Mary Flanagan, these stories brilliantly capture the pathos, beauty, and alienation of contemporary life and signal the arrival of a writer to watch.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Whether she takes on evolution and modern manhood, international adoption, real estate, the movie industry, science and faith, art, or terrorism, Gartner fillets the righteous and the ridiculous with dexterity in equal, heartbreaking, and glorious measure. Angels crash land, lovers speak IKEA, a mountain swallows tony West Coast properties, and a killer stalks the great motivational speakers of North America. These stories ruthlessly expose our covert fears and fathomless desires and allow us to snort with laughter--while grieving at the grotesque world we'd live in if we all got what we wanted. .
These 23 stories take us on a twisted fun ride into some future times and parallel universes where characters as diverse as a one-legged International Actuarial Forensics specialist, a pharmaceutical guinea pig, and a far-sighted fetus engage in their own games of the survival of the fittest. From a new short story by William Gibson in which a teen disassociated from his body haunts his neighborhood through the decades, to Douglas Coupland's balls-out satire of a slightly futuristic Survivor, to Sheila Heti's meditative romp about beleaguered physicists and Oracle of Delphi-like Blackberrys, Darwin's Bastards is a fast-moving, thought-provoking reading extravaganza.
Field notes on the tendency of varieties to depart indefinitely from the original. "It's a weak word, 'trouble.' But that's what came to mind when someone finally bought the Wong-Campeau place at the south end of the cul-de-sac. Stefan Brandeis took one look at the silver Camaro Z28 in the driveway and said, 'Vroom-vroom. Here comes trouble.' He was kidding, of course. Who could have believed that a barbarian was at the gates?"