Better Living Through Plastic Explosives and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
CDN$ 18.81
  • List Price: CDN$ 30.00
  • You Save: CDN$ 11.19 (37%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Better Living Through Plastic Explosives Hardcover – Apr 5 2011


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
CDN$ 18.81
CDN$ 18.79 CDN$ 2.93

Join Amazon Student in Canada



Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HAMISH HAMILTON CA (April 5 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670065188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670065189
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By readerrhonda on May 22 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was reading this book in a noodle restaurant on Broadway when a British couple asked me about the puzzling (disturbing?) title. It was a challenge to provide a tidy summary of such a quirky collection of short stories, but I did explain that the author was local, the stories contained many charming local references, and that the stories were very funny in a very dark way. I hope they were intrigued enough to buy this book as an authentic and very entertaining souvenir of Vancouver. Zsuzsi totally nails both the charms and affectations of modern civilization in this urban rainforest.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rob Slaven TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 18 2013
Format: Hardcover
As usual I received this book from a GoodReads giveaway.

I really wanted to like this book but I just could never quite catch my stride with it. The stories contained here are brief and disjointed in a way that fails to capture one's attention. Viewed in isolation the author is obviously good at their craft but somehow taken as a whole it's hard not to just skim over the words and realize only later that you've been reading for 20 minutes but not consumed anything the author had to say. In fact, the text blows by like a summer breeze and it makes it difficult to even formulate a coherent review. Nothing is more ample evidence of that fact than this rather incoherent bit of feedback.

Perhaps the whole thing would be better consumed in small bits over several days rather than taken all at once. The text is exceptionally tangled and complex so that generally means that one story a day is more in order. Sadly, the bits of this I did manage to catch are not interesting enough to motivate me to pursue that line of evaluation.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 5 2012
Format: Hardcover
I can't seem to find appropriate adjectives to describe "Better Living Through Plastic Explosives"; weird, unnerving, volatile and wild all come to mind but none perfectly captures this funny "ha ha" and funny "strange" collection. Gartner's West Coast provides the background for otherworldly visitations, squatter camps and body part-containing trash bags, displaying a nervy mix of scientific ideas, quackery and pop culture.

Granted, some stories deal with the more mundane: relationship woes, a child's unsatisfactory art grade, real estate transactions. But regardless of plot, all Gartner's tales contain acute observation, vivid description and sharply drawn characters. Her twisty, dense sentences move from sardonic to plangent, wry to heartfelt in a mere clause or two while avoiding the category of "too cerebral."

Ultimately, the collection blends the extraordinary with the very ordinary, the hybrid stories animated by a fact-happy, snarky and inventive author.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By I Built a Mountain of Thunder on June 25 2011
Format: Hardcover
Zsuzsi Gartner is a darn fine writer and reading "Better Living Through Plastic Explosives" both encouraged, yet depressed, me as a struggling, see fledgling, writer myself.

As an encouragement, this book gave me a clear understanding of what good short stories should look like. These are stories with tight, concrete sentences and language that highlights Gartner's cynical, yet sarcastic, tone.

However, the most appealing thing about "Better Living" is the characters. These are characters anxious with longing, characters bold enough to get drunk with existentialism and ask, "If we truly have developed from apes, then why do we still pick and prod at this thing called a soul?" and "Why are we doomed to want what we can't have?" and "Just what exactly are we doing here?"

Most of us aren't brave enough to sit down with these questions and talk to them until we're red in the face. But Gartner won't let her characters do that. No, Gartner sits her characters down and shows them, and us, that maybe life isn't about finding answers. Maybe life is about being courageous enough to ask questions, and not let go. Maybe life is a question without an answer, and maybe we feel sad for these characters because their inability to answer their questions reflects our inability to answer our questions, as well.

But at least they're bold enough to ask them, which is something us non-fictioneers are often too afraid, and unwilling, to do.

And for the depression. Well, the depression hits when I realize that I can't write like Zsuzsi Gartner, which, I guess, is okay--for now.

For now, I can just convince myself that I'm not carbon-copying her characters. And hope too, that somehow, she doesn't find out.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By peter darbyshire on Nov. 29 2011
Format: Hardcover
One of the best and most challenging books I have ever read. It's the apocalypse I've been dreaming about my entire life.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Product Images from Customers

Search

Look for similar items by category


Feedback