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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

Scandal at the Alphorn Factory

New and Selected Short Fiction, 2024-1984

by (author) Gary Barwin

Assembly Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2024
Short Stories (single author), Jewish, Absurdist
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2024
    List Price

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A new collection of stories by Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Gary Barwin that puts the fab in fabulist.

Scandal at the Alphorn Factory: New and Selected Short Fiction, 2024–1984 couples brand new and uncollected stories with selections of the most playful and ambitious of Barwin’s previous collections, including Cruelty to Fabulous Animals, Big Red Baby, Doctor Weep and Other Strange Teeth, and I, Dr. Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251–1457.

Barwin’s prose kicks against short fiction’s more traditional forms: these are pieces that flirt with poetry and playwriting. Whole stories—and worlds—are packed into single compact paragraphs. There are narrators and fleas and lists and imperatives and Hitler’s moustache and radiant happiness.

About the author

Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, and performer. He is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry and fiction including the poetry collections frogments from the frag pool: haiku after basho (written with derek beaulieu) and Raising Eyebrows and Outside the Hat (Coach House Books) and the fiction collections Doctor Weep and other strange teeth, Big Red Baby (The Mercury Press), and Cruelty to Fabulous Animals (Moonstone Press). He is the author of The Mud Game, a novel written with Stuart Ross (The Mercury Press). Barwin is also the author of several books for children including Seeing Stars, a young adult novel (Stoddart Kids) nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award and the CLA YA Book of the Year, and Killer Poodle Made Me Island King (Fox Meadow), co-winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon 2003. Barwin received a PhD in Music Composition and currently teaches music at Hillfield-Strathallan College and creative writing at McMaster University. Barwin lives in Hamilton, where he has cultivated vague but colourful illusions about his writing. Please don’t tell him.

Gary Barwin's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Scandal at the Alphorn Factory is a 40-year love affair with language where the absurd morphs into the soundest logic and the playful duels the profound. Daring in form, Barwin’s work harmonizes his signature wit with imagery that is striking, gorgeous and strange. Engaging imaginatively with the natural world, the body, the family, the future—every story is a surprise. A kaleidoscopic collection that affirms Barwin’s place among our Canadian literary treasures."—Anuja Varghese, author of Chrysalis

"Is Gary Barwin the Meryl Streep of Canadian Literature? Or the Stephen Curry? By which I mean: what range! These stories sound the depths of character, plot, style, and form with irreverent humour, musical language and boundless curiosity. So maybe he's our Jacques Cousteau—if the guy had stayed home, traded his submarine for a laptop computer, and made up stories about all the things he didn’t know."—Pasha Malla, author of All You Can Kill

“Gary Barwin is maestro of the suburban surreal. For over four decades, in between children’s birthday parties and phatic conversations with neighbors, Barwin has been sending emergency communiques—in the form of allegories, parables, tall tales, and street jokes—from the hidden zone beneath the kitchen linoleum. There, he’s discovered not a realist’s bedrock of family secrets, betrayals, or gossip but, rather, the liberated and liberating Surrealist aesthetic of the marvelous, which Barwin reinscribes with a contemporary ethics of care. He’s our punny chimerical ventriloquial dummy, speaking out from the head of Kafka, heart of Éluard, and soul of Edson.”—Alessandro Porco, author of Augustine in Carthage, and Other Poems

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