Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

Better Living Through Plastic Explosives has been shortlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize!
Here’s what the jury citation has to say: “[T]his book 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.”

giller cover

Check out the fancy red seal!

Better Living Through Plastic Explosives is Zsuzsi Gartner’s eagerly anticipated depth charge of deadly satire and trademark dark humour.

Whether she takes on evolution and modern manhood, international adoption, real estate, the movie industry, science and faith, art, or terrorism, Gartner fillets the righteous and the ridiculous with dexterity in equal, heartbreaking, and glorious measure. Angels crash land, lovers speak IKEA, a mountain swallows tony West Coast properties, a killer stalks the great motivational speakers of North America. These stories ruthlessly expose our covert fears and fathomless desires and allow us to snort with laughter, while grieving, at the grotesque world we’d live in if we all got what we wanted.



Better Living Sighting/Siting: I have no idea of who this person or her neighbour with the music stand is, but said neighbour appears to have the first copy of Better Living in Vancouver!

Advance praise for Better Living Through Plastic Explosives:

“ 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 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

“Forthcoming from Penguin Canada in April, Zsuzsi Gartner’s new collection of short stories is as smart, satiric, playful & wicked as her previously acclaimed and bestselling book, All the Anxious Girls on Earth.” —  Janet Somerville

What the Reviewers Are Saying About
Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

“There are no innocent bystanders in Zsuszi Gartner’s mind-blowing short story collection Better Living Through Plastic Explosives” — Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This

“One quick way of defining Zsuzsi Gartner and explaining the novelty and force of her work is to say that she is the anti-Munro. This is not a question of literary quality as of basic worldview . . . The emotional weight of Gartner’s stories comes from the contrast between the persistence of uncontrollable biological urges and an artificial universe.” — Jeet Heer, The National Post

Stories from Better Living Through Plastic Explosives appear in the April 8th Swerve Magazine, and the May 2011 Walrus.

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