Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Oh the first world problems of upper middle class suburbia.
These stories are largely about people living in lives they've chosen for themselves, but haven't necessarily found themselves to be any happier despite their success. The two best things about the book are the title (who wouldn't pick this up and read it based on the title?) and the story called "Summer of the Flesh Eater." It is an uncomfortable story about a lowbrow person moving into a snooty neighborhood and Gartner pushes it to a limit you would not expect. Sometimes, discomfort is entertaining. Or disgusting. Okay, both. I read this book a month ago, and this story has popped up in my head in weird moments.
You can listen "Summer of the Flesh Eater," which I really do think is the best story, on Post Hypnotic Press, which created the audio version. I am listening to it as I type this, and laughing because the catalyst date for the mullet-wearer moving to the cul de sac is "Canada Day," July 1, aka my birthday.
This is one of the books shortlisted for the [Scotia Bank] Giller Prize, an award for Canadian literature. The other five nominees are novels, and this is the only book of short stories included on the list. The winner will be announced November 8.