Zsuzsi Gartner’s debut novel, The Beguiling (Hamish Hamilton), is a stunner. It was a finalist for this year’s Writer's Trust Fiction Prize, and the Globe and Mail calls it "exquisite."
2020 Writer's Trust jury citation:
“A lapsed Catholic, curbside confessionals, and quantum realities come together in a one-of-a-kind romp in Zsuzsi Gartner’s The Beguiling: an exquisitely crafted, profoundly readable novel about the human compulsion to seek absolution in strangers, a page-turner so compelling, so inventive, so weirdly weird, readers will feel like they’ve been to a party that leaves them wondering at the genius of the host who pulled it off. A book as full of imagination as heart, its structure like a nesting doll, a scrappy, unforgettable narrator, a multilayered look at stories as both connection and mode of transformation — this is Gartner at her best.”
Zsuzsi Gartner is the author of the fiction collections All the Anxious Girls on Earth and Better Living through Plastic Explosives, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her fiction has been widely anthologized, broadcast on CBC and NPR, and won numerous prizes, including a National Magazine Award. Gartner is the founder and director of Writers Adventure Camp in Whistler, British Co …
In this week’s Chat, I’m in conversation with Paul Carlucci, author of the deeply compelling new short story collection A Plea for Constant Motion.
Reviewing the collection in the Toronto Star, Robert Wiersema says Carlucci “writes beautifully of ugliness, immersing the reader in the minds and hearts of characters most of us would like to avoid, or, more critically, would prefer to believe didn’t exist. It’s a perfect collection for a world which confronts us with increasing violence and ugliness every day.”
Paul Carlucci is the author of The Secret Life of Fission, which won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His stories have been widely published, appearing in The Puritan, Little Fiction, The Malahat Review, Descant, Carousel, EVENT, and Riddle Fence, among others. A recovering transient, he now lives in Ottawa after almost ten years of roaming across Canada and abroad.
Trevor Corkum: This is a dark, moody, compassionate, and generous collection. You mention in the acknowledgements that you worked with your edit …
Welcome to The Interruption, a 49th Shelf–Books on the Radio collaboration in which I interview Canadian writers about the surprising things that inform, inspire, and even interrupt their creative process.
The Interruption is generously sponsored by The UBC Creative Writing Program, celebrating 50 years of excellence in creative writing. Programs include undergraduate minor and major degrees, Masters of Fine Arts in Vancouver or by distance education from anywhere in the world! For more information visit creativewriting.ubc.ca.
Today, I chat with Zsuzsi Gartner, the author of the short fiction collections Better Living Through Plastic Explosives and All the Anxious Girls on Earth, and the editor of Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow. Her stories have been widely anthologized, and broadcast on CBC and NPR’s Selected Shorts. Better Living Through Plastic Explosives was shortlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize.
In the first podcast, Sean and Zsuzsi explore the idea of what can be a productive interruption in a writer's life, as well as the questions Zsuzsi thinks are essential to ask when considering what book one wants to put out in the world. In the second podcast, Zsuzsi reads from a new, unfinished short story, "The Secret Life of Plants."
"What's YOUR Canadian bookshelf?" turns the spotlight on the shelf-lives of extraordinary ordinary Canadians. The feature begins with Laura Penny, author of Your Call is Important to Us and More Money Than Brains. Laura Penny has a PhD in Comparative Literature, a MA in Theory and Criticism, and a BA in Contemporary Studies and English. She has worked as a bookstore clerk, a student activist, a union organizer, a university instructor, and her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Saturday Night, and Toronto Life. She lives in Halifax, where she teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University.
I read grossbuckets for both my jobs. My professor gig requires I read and re-read a lot of great stuff and then enjoy heaps of student interpretations thereof. Writing non-fiction requires I plough through piles of research and reports and news, horrible news. Even though my work sometimes makes me go glue-eyed, I still unwind from reading by reading. I dig celebrity junk food books: Keith Richards, Tina Fey and Jay-Z all showed me a good time, in that order. I also love short stuff. Happily, Canada has a number of exceedingly talented writers who are great at packing maximum punch into minimal pages. Since I don't want to be a blog hog—and frankly, lit …