A man steps out for a pack of smokes and winds up walking around the planet; a woman sun-tanning by a pool finds herself covered in chicken feet; a guerrilla army of cows infiltrates a big city; a man hires a bodyguard to protect him from his poodle. The first book of fiction since 1997 from the consummately underground Stuart Ross blends an unflagging penchant for experiment with the measured skill of a seasoned, highly disciplined craftsman. Buying Cigarettes for the Dog is anything but a collection of linked stories in a homogenous voice: instead, Ross offers us fables, letters, political tracts, gems of minimalist surrealism, and even a post-gothic novella. Throughout, he draws from the same deep, dark sense of humour that has earned him acclaim as Canada’s foremost surrealist poet. Ross’s strange, strangely compassionate stories engage the emotions as well as the intellect, giving the reader no choice but to participate. Buying Cigarettes for the Dog holds a mirror to the absurdities of 21st-centruy Earth; here is an absurdism so true that it becomes real.
Buying Cigarettes for the Dog
“Stuart Ross writes with the gleefully overstimulated satirical imagination of a George Saunders or Mark Leyner, with lobe-rattlingly smart language and storylines that are culture-crazed, funny and full of strange betrayals and sociopolitical intrigue. The many comic absurdities feel inspired by global catastrophe as they cleave hypocrisy down to the ridiculous individual.” – Lee Henderson
ReLit Award for Short Fiction, 2010 (winner)
Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year, 2010 (short-listed)
Alberta Readers’ Choice Award, 2014 (short-listed)