Better Living Through Plastic Explosives
  • Better Living Through Plastic Explosives
  • Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

by Zsuzsi Gartner
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

See more details below

Overview

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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the stories of Gartner’s dexterous second collection (after All the Anxious Girls on Earth), set in or near Vancouver, Canada, the author turns her clever eye on a certain type of upper-class person: the food-snobbing, eco-obsessive, million-dollar-real-estate-negotiating, self-help-seeking yuppie. Two stories feature the collective voices of a suburban cul-de-sac’s residents as they witness how new people change their behavior. In “Summer of the Flesh Eater,” the presence of a crass, low-class, meat-loving man whose truck decays in the front yard pulls the entire town down a Darwinian rabbit hole. And the white parents of “The Adopted Chinese Daughters’ Rebellion” impose archaic Chinese customs, such as foot-binding, on their young, adopted daughters. These stories exemplify one of Gartner’s strengths: her fiction walks an ice pond’s thin skim between sadness and satire. Both begin with a tug of depression, a foreshadowing lament, and then delve into the rigidity of people’s “progressive” beliefs. 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. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
“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.” - Douglas Coupland

“What crazy, wonderful writing this is-hilarious, exuberant, apocalyptic, heart-stopping. Gartner sees all, dissects all, loves all. An absolutely irresistible collection.” - Barbara Gowdy

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143180487
Publisher:
Penguin Canada
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Up in Canada there lives a brilliant, unusually nimble writer who deserves an ample U.S. audience.  Her name is Zsuzsi (pronounced Zhu-zhee) Gartner, and not only would it be great if she could fully break through the U.S.–Canadian fiction border, but it would also be great if she broke though the unstated barrier that exists between ‘experimental’ fiction (her side) and the calmer, more linear, narrative-type of fiction that many readers are initially more comfortable giving a whirl.  There are Customs officials stationed at both the geographical and the artistic posts, and in the latter case, they inquire of all writers trying to pass through, ‘Why should you be read?’ That's an easy one to answer here. There are countless rewards to be found when reading the dexterous, sardonic stories in Gartner's collection, including the presence of suburban send-ups, yuppie send-ups, parental send-ups, gender send-ups, hilarious characters, plentiful social satire, and a surprisingly deeply emotional core. Never sentimental, but never brittle either, and always hyperalert, like the best writers and border-crossers, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives is a unique pleasure for all readers."
—Meg Wolitzer, New York Times–bestselling author of The Ten Year Nap

"Zsuzsi Gartner's writing is dazzling, effortless, and clear as a bell. She's able tto 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."
—Doulgas Coupland, author of Generation X

"Gartner’s inventive wit is reminiscent of that of George Saunders, but her tone is more ferocious and angry. Saturated with pop-culture references and intellectually hilarious, these tales dissect the present human situation and warn against darker times to come.”
— Booklist

“[Gartner’s] undeniably original voice charges her stories with irresistible verve.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A sleek, surreal sensibility composed of equal parts romance and cynicism powers”
– Elle Magazine

“Brilliant…These are clever stories.”
—Library Journal

"[Gartner] uses her sharp wit to deft advantage in portraying a parade of clever, observant, sardonic female protagonists."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Superb new story collection. [Gartner] is the anti-Munro … The emotional weight of Gartner’s stories comes from the contrast between the persistence of uncontrollable biological urges and an artificial universe.”
—National Post

“These stories sing with brightness, and the sentences are often dazzling. But beneath the glow nestles the lurk and pull of violence, and it is this crack inside the glass that pushes these stories and characters into frightening, riveting, complex territories."
—Aimee Bender, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

“These stories … thrum with bizarro life, the glowing bastard fruit of irradiated breeding experiments involving the DNA of a meticulous, fact-mad journalist, a snarky critic of hippie/hipster/Yuppie mores, an inventive stylist and an old-school fabulist.”
—The Globe and Mail

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >