Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Indie Book Buzz: Coach House Books

It's the return of the Indie Book Buzz here at TNBBC. Over the next few weeks, we will be inviting members of the small press publishing houses to share which of their upcoming releases they are most excited about!

This week's picks comes from Evan Munday,
Publicist for Coach House Books.

Cosmo by Spencer Gordon
(Available now)

What it's about
If reading most short story collections is like canoeing gently down a tranquil and picturesque river, then reading Spencer Gordon's Cosmo is like jet skiing over Niagara Falls while Leonard Cohen whispers in your ear. In the short stories of Cosmo, an admirer of Miley Cyrus performs a three-thousand word sentence in defence of his passion. Actor Matthew McConaughey descends into a surreal, stupefying desert of the soul. An aging porn star dons a grotesque dinosaur costume to film the sex scene of his life. Such are the speakers and stars of a collection of stories that explode the conventions of short fiction.

Why you should read it

At first, it seems like merely a novelty to read celebrity-saturated short stories about Matthew McConaughey driving naked through the Painted Desert, about Leonard Cohen's correspondence with Subway, about a Miss America contestant on a humanitarian mission. (I can't believe you're still reading this -- I'd have already bought the book at this point.) But once you enter these stories, you realize Spencer Gordon is no one-trick-pony. And this is no gimmick. This is honest-to-goodness art that just happens to feature figures of pop culture as some of its more memorable characters. Cosmo reads like US Weekly and Barthelme's 60 Stories were thrown in a blender, mixed with a packet of Fun Dip and set to 'whip.' And this is not to say it's only popular culture the author engages with. Everyday parents, employees and bus riders are just as enthralling as the marquee names. The stories will alternately make you wallow in existential dread, laugh in absurdiy, slice your heart down the middle with incredible sadness and dazzle you with klaxons of writerly style. (I'm not really sure what klaxons are, but I think they're British and I think they dazzle.)

Evan Munday is the illustrator of the novel Stripmalling by Jon Paul Fiorentino and the poetry collection DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains by Natalie Zina Walschots. He's also the author of the Silver-Birch-nominated book series for young readers, The Dead Kid Detective Agency. But mostly he's the publicist for Toronto-based literary press Coach House Books.

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