Literature

Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner

Posted On March 23, 2017 at 10:13 am by / Comments Off on Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner

By Zsuzsi Gartner

Even if she takes on evolution and glossy manhood, overseas adoption, genuine property, the motion picture undefined, technological know-how and religion, paintings, or terrorism, Gartner fillets the righteous and the ridiculous with dexterity in equivalent, heartbreaking, and excellent measure.
Angels crash land, fans converse IKEA, a mountain swallows tony West Coast homes, and a killer stalks the nice motivational audio system of North America.
These tales ruthlessly reveal our covert fears and fathomless wishes and make allowance us to laugh with laughter—while grieving on the gruesome global we’d reside in if all of us acquired what we needed.

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But the structure is too clearly foregrounded, the style excessively mannered; and the characters fall into postures of survival after 9/11 that are too familiar to invite much more than a gesture of recognition from the reader. Here, for instance, is one character falling back on the game of poker as his refuge: The money mattered but not so much. The game mattered, the touch of felt beneath the hands, the way the dealer burnt one card, dealt the next. He wasn’t playing for the money. He was playing for the chips.

In the produce section in the bottom of the bins they found a few ancient runner beans and what looked to have once been apricots, long dried to wrinkled effigies of themselves …. In the alleyway behind the store a few shopping carts, all badly rusted. … By the door were two softdrink machines that had been tilted over into the floor and opened with a prybar. Coins everywhere in the ash. He sat and ran his hand around the works of the gutted machines and in the second one it closed over a cold metal cylinder.

Indd 36 1/13/2011 7:13:51 PM Imagining Disaster the protagonist of All the Pretty Horses traverses. But it is reasserted more insistently and more powerfully than ever before here. The Road is set in some strange, post-apocalyptic landscape. There are no birds or animals left alive. Most of the trees and many of the buildings have been destroyed, burned to extinction. And the air is filled with ash, requiring those who survive to wear face masks so as to filter the noxious air they breathe. Ash is everywhere – this is F.

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