Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 16
- Grade: 11
Down the Road to Eternity: New & Selected Fiction is a collection of M.A.C. Farrant’s work dating from 1985 to 2009. Compiled of selected fiction from Sick Pigeon (1991), Raw Material (1993), Altered Statements (1995), Word of Mouth (1996), What’s True, Darling (1997), Darwin Alone in the Universe (2003) and The Breakdown So Far (2007), it includes her complete new suite of 18 stories, The North Pole, where our individual existence is bludgeoned by the threat of “end times”?climate change, species extinction, pandemics and really bad politics. Each of these stories is an ongoing instance of the author’s attempt at understanding language ironically, a search for the strikingly sublime in the awesomely absurd.
Objective reality in our culture has become a corporate performance of make-believe, and the disassociation and confusion this causes in our private lives often triggers uncontrollable tragi-comic effects in Farrant’s characters?a vacuous lethargy and/or a destructive violence they act out in a context of the most excruciatingly bright banalities imaginable.
Satiric and philosophical in approach, indelibly marked by wit, humour, irony, playfulness, a blend of parody and science fiction, irreverent analysis and comic existentialism, these stories celebrate the literary imagination as an antidote to the stranglehold the popular media now has on the public’s imagination. Yet as in all such relentlessly absurdist dystopian social parodies, there resides behind each of these brief entertainments a stifled scream for help, a trapped yearning for the awe and wonder of what we have become estranged from, an arrested lust for meaning.
Unsparing in her critique of the branded New Age syncretism our global culture has substituted for authentic human emotion and particular belief, these hilariously off-side stories navigate Farrant’s exploration of the relation of fiction to the evolving construction of reality in our media and information age.
About the authors
Born in Sydney, Australia and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, M.A.C. Farrant is the acclaimed author of nine previous collections of satirical and humourous short fiction, and two works of non-fiction. Her writing has been widely anthologized in North America and has been dramatized for television; Farrant is also a frequent contributor to leading magazines such as Adbusters and Geist. Her 2004 memoir, My Turquoise Years, is being adapted into a stage play in conjunction with the Arts Club Theatre of Vancouver; production is slated for the 2011/12 season.
Farrant has taught fiction workshops in Canada and Australia. She was a visiting writer-in-residence at Macquarie University in Sydney. A full-time writer currently residing in North Saanich, B.C., she has also taught part-time at the creative writing department in the University of Victoria and reviews books for the Vancouver Sun and the Globe & Mail.
Farrant’s work is infused with acerbic wit and iconoclastic innovation. As the Globe & Mail has noted, “Farrant is better at startling us with unnerving, often misanthropic visions of everyday life than perhaps any other Canadian writer”.
BC Bookworld has called her “Canada’s most acerbic and intelligent humourist.”
“Farrant has a lightness of touch, and her writing is not too charmed by its own cleverness; she achieves something quite tricky there. With an eye to the world that is somewhat aslant, her stories cannot nestle neatly into the forms usually associated with realism, and the formats she chooses are refreshing: at her best, it feels as if she is getting at the heart of something that takes other writers much longer to lead us to.” — Canadian Literature
“Farrant, it appears, will offer satire, surrealism and silliness to guide us through the rogue waves of reality toward a shore called Meaning. The stories are full of changing ideas and scenarios, and contain worlds. The reader might want to pick at these stories slowly, however, as they are extremely rich.”
— Globe and Mail
Down the Road to Eternity: New & Selected FictionIn this highly original selection of fiction from seven previous (1991–2007) and one new collection, the author explores a myriad of forms and topics. Some pieces are like a series of linked prose poems (Refusal), some are metaphorical essays exploring a particular idea (Halloween So Far Away) and some are brief biographical sketches (Alice and Stein). Humorous pieces (All Chickens Are Sucks, The Party, Kristmas Kraft ) are insightful commentaries on the contemporary condition. Memorable lines that are poetic in their intensity are found throughout the collection. Popular culture and lives on the margins are brought together seamlessly, to show the connections between the seemingly disparate.
Caution: Coarse language and sexual references throughout.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.
Other titles by M.A.C. Farrant
One Good Thing
A Living Memoir
The Great Happiness
Stories and Comics
Forecasts, Warnings, Advice
The World Afloat
The Strange Truth About Us
The Strange Truth About Us ebook
Down the Road to Eternity ebook
The Secret Lives of Litterbugs
and Other (True) Stories