BETTER LIVING THROUGH PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES
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.
Listen to Summer of the Flesh Eater (excerpt from Better Living through Plastic Explosives). Or click here to download an MP3.
“The stories do not languish here, but rollick into the depths of dark humor and absurdity. Gartner’s themes are topical but never preachy, and she accents the ambiguities found in black-and-white arguments. Gartner delights in a little DeLilloesque postmodern trickery, imbuing new life and meaning to the everyday. It’s a sharp voice in this collection. Handle carefully.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Zsuzsi Gartner’s writing is dazzling, effortless, and clear as a bell. She’s able to crystallize a cultural moment in a way entirely her own that is both instantaneous and eternal. I couldn’t let go of it and read it all in one go.”
“What crazy, wonderful writing this is—hilarious, exuberant, apocalyptic, heart-stopping. Gartner sees all, dissects all, loves all. An absolutely irresistible collection.”
ZSUZSI GARTNER is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling story collection All the Anxious Girls on Earth and the editor of Darwin's Bastard's: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow. She is the winner of a 2007 National Magazine Award for Fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for her magazine journalism. Her second collection of short stories, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, was shortlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She lives in Vancouver.