Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi GartnerBetter Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner

Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

byZsuzsi Gartner

Paperback | April 10, 2012

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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 ofMcSweeney's.

Better Living through Plastic Explosives is a powerful depth charge of Zsuzsi Gartner's trademark dark humour and deadly satire. 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 covert fears and fathomless desires and allow us to snort with laughter—at the grotesque world we’d live in if we all got what we wanted.

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 colle...
Title:Better Living Through Plastic ExplosivesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 8.3 × 5.3 × 0.6 inPublished:April 10, 2012Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143177672

ISBN - 13:9780143177678

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Weird but fun short stories Zsuszi Gartner’ s delivers a sharp collection of short-stories filled with dark humour and snark. At first I thought the stories were just bizarre but then I found myself chuckling at some of Gartner’s outlandish metaphors or agreeing with the strange reasoning of her characters.I was sucked in and I decided to surrender to the wonderful weirdness of the stories. A few of my favourites: “Once, We Were Swedes” – a journalist who’s now teaching at a college is drifting apart from her spouse. She reminisces about the early stages of their relationship when they used to talk IKEA to each other. Loved the glossary at the end of the story. “Floating Like a Goat” – a young mother writes a letter to her daughter’s grade one art teacher. A wonderful rant about stifled creativity and lost dreams. “We Come In Peace” – angels are sent to inhabit the bodies of five teenagers to experience the earthly senses. Divinity is no match for teenage hormones and high school drama. This collection is not filled with happy endings and we wouldn’t all agree with the characters’ thoughts and actions (at least not in public) but that’s what makes these short-stories a must-read, the opportunity to explore different, not-so-traditional views in a fun, entertaining way. If you are looking for the unusual, pick-up this collection.
Date published: 2016-11-08

Editorial Reviews

“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 won that is both instantaneous and eternal. I couldn’t let go of it and read it all in one go.” - Douglas Coupland“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