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Stripmalling [Hardcover]

Jon Paul Fiorentino , Evan Munday
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2009

Part graphic novel, part journal, this tale follows one young man's embarrassing and hilarious journey to literary awareness. Jonny lives and works in a suburban strip mall but dreams of being a writer. He already possesses most of the elements needed to realize his dream—a supportive girlfriend, an active imagination, and an abundance of subject matter—but nonetheless finds his literary pursuits impeded by his own relentless stupidity. From big-box capitalism to growing up in the 21st century, Jonny's irreverent musings are captivating and deceivingly wise.


Product Details


Product Description

Quill & Quire

Stripmalling is both a semi-autobiographical first novel from Winnipeg-born author Jon Paul Fiorentino and something more complex and metafictional. The hero, Jonny, is a 31-year-old aspiring writer and instructor at a “mildly respectable university” in Montreal (Fiorentino teaches at Concordia). Jonny is going through a “pre-emptive mid-life crisis” that involves writing a novel titled Stripmalling, about the time he spent working at a suburban Winnipeg mall – pumping gas, stocking shelves, and dealing drugs out of the back of his Chevette. In addition to chasing its own tail, the book also takes itself apart, recasting the main characters in a graphic novel (illustrated by Evan Munday), the script and preliminary sketches for which are included in an appendix of “bonus materials.” Jonny’s mall story is interspersed with “mid-life crisis reports,” which are themselves corrected and reinterpreted by his ex in a series of “Dora reports” that undercut Jonny’s authority (“That obviously never happened,” one begins). Dora, in turn, has her eye on Jonny’s partner, an artist coincidentally named Evan Munday. . . This is all very knowing and postmodern, but handled with a light comic touch, which is set in deliberate opposition to “dead ‘serious’ prose fiction.” Fiorentino’s sensibility is pure Coupland: from the Gen Y slackers alienated from nature (a Manitoba winter is dimly evoked as passing “like a slow-moving ice-type thing”) to the Morrissey constantly playing in the background. The personal and the political bleed into each other, but both are tinged with the same sense of  youthful apathy and indifference. For example, the mall is bought by a Wal-Mart clone and then shut down in the face of union organization, but everyone just moves on. Jonny is bisexual, but doesn’t seem to care very much either way. A collage-like experience, Stripmalling is a hybrid book forged out of multiple angles and perspectives. It is also a funny and clever experiment in tale-telling.

Review

“Fiorentino is wickedly funny.”  —The Globe and Mail



"What Jon Paul Fiorentino is up to is sly and self-effacing, deeply real and hilarious. Stripmalling is an absolute bender."  —Emily Schultz, author, Joyland


"A wall-to-wall shag carpet of variegated grimness and hapless hilarity; a mid-life crisis you can hold in your hand; a horny walking tour of sub-industrial, suburban Winnipeg."  —Guy Maddin, screenwriter and director



"This incredibly comedic, somewhat tragic literary work is unlike anything you'll read, ever. Fiorentino details the desperate life of an aspiring writer with wit, oddness, and complexity."  —Joe Meno, author, Tender as Hellfire



"Both a semi-autobiographical first novel from Winnipeg-born author Jon Paul Fiorentino and something more complex and metafictional. . . . A collage-like experience, Stripmalling is a hybrid book forged out of multiple angles and perspectives. It is also a funny and clever experiment in tale-telling.  —Quill & Quire



"Worth reading for its wry, sardonic humour and delightfully self-deprecating tone . . . Thoroughly enjoyable ."  —Montreal Review of Books



"Outrageous, intriguing and quietly powerful, Stripmalling offers readers the curious and ultimately rewarding experience of stepping outside their own stories."  —Scene Magazine



"Expands our concept of what makes something worth reading . . . [Jonny is] a metafictional anti-hero for the new millennium."  —Fiction Writers Review


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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fiorentino's "Stripmalling" is an amazing read, although the title was somewhat misleading; at no time in the novel does Jonny, the protagonist, strip. Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about a confused young man who both consumes and sells drugs while dreaming of a writing career. Dora provides a stable force in his life, but he is too foolish to realize that and he leaves her. He struggles to be a good father, and he nearly bangs some hypocrite, middle-aged drug-dealing mom. Jonny accurately shows how drugs are bad, very, very bad. Prior to reading this book, I considered starting a cocaine habit, and thankfully, "Stripmalling" has shown me the light. Fiorentinto is a great writer, and I will definitely read his other works.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hybrid book Aug. 18 2009
Format:Hardcover
A hybrid book--not quite graphic, not enough novel. But really funny and dark and the two kinds of storytelling complemented each other quite well here. It wasn't strong on plot, mostly feckless, self-loathing characters. The Jonny character was hilarious and you're always skating on the thin ice the author deliberately sets up between what is autobiography and what is fiction. Both are funny and no decision is necessary. They both get thumbs up from me. I will definitely seek out some of his earlier work.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review roundup April 28 2009
Format:Hardcover
Stripmalling is the first novel by Jon Paul Fiorentino, and a very funny one it is.... Amid the hilarious scenes that make up Stripmalling - gas-station hot-boxing, desperate ploys for sex, moderate success in the writing world ... Fiorentino produces peaks of warmth and true sadness.
-- Globe and Mail

Stripmalling is an entertaining, occasionally disorienting trip through
the wires of Jonny, a presumably semi-fictional character working in and around a strip mall in suburban Winnipeg.... Outrageous, intriguing and
quietly powerful, Stripmalling offers readers the curious and ultimately
rewarding experience of stepping outside their own stories.
-- Scene Magazine

Stripmalling is an author's memoir freed from the tyranny of facts. Jonny shares his personal issues with an off-the-wall candour.... From the top of Stripmalling, you see a keen mind at work under the quirky surface.
-- Xtra

...poignant, politically savvy and laugh-out-loud-funny...
-- Montreal Mirror

Stripmalling is worth reading for its wry, sardonic humour and delightfully self-deprecating tone . . . Thoroughly enjoyable.
-- Montreal Review of Books

[Stripmalling has] a poignant tension between narrative and fragmentation,
hopefulness and cynicism. . . . [Fiorentino has] become one of Montreal's --
and Canada's -- most prolific and accomplished young writers.
-- Hour

A collage-like experience, Stripmalling is a hybrid book forged out of multiple angles and perspectives. It is also a funny and clever experiment in tale-telling.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Mangled, messed up fun Oct. 5 2010
By STEFANO BOSCUTTI - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Fiorentino's "Stripmalling" is a lot of fun. Mangled, messed up fun that rolls and spills all over the place. But that's what makes it fun. Yes, it's very meta. But then what isn't these days. Loved the marked-up screenplay and the lame teen comedy freeze frame snapshots over the closing credits. Go on, immerse yourself.

[...].
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