Better Living Through Plastic Explosivesby Zsuzsi Gartner
In Better Living through Plastic Explosives, Zsuzsi Gartner delivers a powerful second dose of the lacerating satire that marked her acclaimed/i>
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.
“Gartner has outdone herself with Better Living Through Plastic Explosives. She will garner a fistful of award nominations, more than a few fireworks and maybe even some hang-up phone calls.” - Winnipeg Free Press
"Gartner’s sentences are … expansive, polished and dense with flecks and speckles of dark and light. She can go from sardonic to plangent, wry to heartfelt.” - The Globe and Mail
“Superb…. Gartner’s attentiveness to the artificial gives her prose a laser-like sharpness and precision.” - National Post
“What crazy, wonderful writing this is—hilarious, exuberant, apocalyptic, heart-stopping. Gartner sees all, dissects all, loves all. An absolutely irresistible collection.” - Barbara Gowdy
“Zsuzsi Gartner’s new collection of short stories is as smart, satiric, playful and wicked as her previously acclaimed and bestselling book, ALL THE ANXIOUS GIRLS ON EARTH.” - Janet Somerville
“[Better Living Through Plastic Explosives] shows the short story form at its savage best, each story capturing, with brilliant economy and grace, not only entire worlds but whole mindsets as they explode into eloquence. Gartner is one of the supreme noticers in contemporary fiction, and with this book she has produced a rare work of wisdom and laughter.” - 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury
“[Gartner] drills into your brain with amazing images and a snappy delivery that verges on inciting mental whiplash. What a ride! … Gartner is fall-out-of-your-chair funny, but the hilarity has a splendid whack of asperity to it for a great combination. The 10 stories in this book are wonderfully various and humorously satirical … Her send-up of idiotic earnestness is so refreshing, I can’t wait for the next collection.” - Vancouver Sun
“With her second collection of short stories, Zsuzsi Gartner has delved far underground, taken its seismic measure, and returned to give us the report … Dark, sinister, scary? Yes, but Gartner’s skill in the telling is thrilling. I’m a new fan of Gartner. I really liked All the Anxious Girls on Earth … But in Better Living Though Plastic Explosives, Gartner goes darker, deeper, and funnier. Her new stories are more trenchant, more satirical, more surreal. At the same time, Gartner still manages to evoke great empathy for characters and their sad, sad lives. Reading this book, I despaired … But I also felt exhilarated, the same exhilaration I felt when first reading Vonnegut and Barthelme and, more recently, George Saunders.” - Winnipeg Review
- Penguin Canada
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 1 MB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
What People are saying about this
—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.”
“[Gartner’s] undeniably original voice charges her stories with irresistible verve.”
“A sleek, surreal sensibility composed of equal parts romance and cynicism powers”
– Elle Magazine
“Brilliant…These are clever stories.”
"[Gartner] uses her sharp wit to deft advantage in portraying a parade of clever, observant, sardonic female protagonists."
“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.”
“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
Meet the Author
Zsuzsi Gartner is an award-winning magazine journalist and the author of the fiction collection All the Anxious Girls on Earth. She lives in Vancouver.
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