The Jonathan Swift of the bingo hall and elder-care, the Alexander Pope of pet-care and the dinner parties of the liberal intelligentsia, Marion Farrant continues her assault on the unaccountably disaffected and disillusioned of the Western world with The Breakdown So Far, her eighth volume of extremely short stories for those of us who seem to have lost both our way and our attention span. Unsparing in her critique of the New Age syncretism the mall culture has substituted for authentic emotion and belief, our adoption of Buddhism appears in her work as a rationalization for our ubiquitous materialism of the soul, Zen as our guiltless doctrine of neglect.
Yet as in all such relentlessly dystopian social parodies, there resides behind each of these brief entertainments a stifled scream for help, a trapped yearning for genuine human contact and sympathy, an arrested existential lust for meaning. Where has our sense of order, propriety, history and community gone, Farrant’s stories beg to wonder'stories that span the stylistic range of personal journal, objective reportage, fiction, fantasy and writers’ workshop exercise? In order to answer these questions, Farrant’s new stories meticulously trace the breakdown of our language by ridding it of everything unnecessary and excessive: the breakdown of the post- Kierkegaard, post-Sartre existential position through its extension into the absurd; the breakdown of sense and sensibility through its alienation from perception; and the breakdown of discourse in literary craft, the social occasion and the commoditization of the individual and its attendant merchandizing of desire. Each of these stories is a new instance of the author’s ongoing attempt at understanding language ironically?through itself?a willingness to let the deadly serious be as playful as it wants to be, a courageous shedding of what Tom Robbins called “the tyranny of the dull mind.”
About the author
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.”
“The Breakdown So Far is a fantastic and whimsical challenge to the intellectual doom of everyday life. [Farrant] is an elegant and spare writer, whipping up a foam of visionary ideas with a few short strokes of language.”
— Ottawa Xpress
“The Breakdown So Far is challenging, unnerving, unforgettable and very unlikely. If, as Nabokov advises, the monster of grim common sense must be ‘shot dead,’ then Farrant is, indeed, a crack shot.”
— Globe and Mail
“Farrant is a master of the literary equivalent of a waking dream, creating subtle insurrections disguised as prose. The Breakdown So Far, her latest collection of absurd short stories, is a minivan crammed full of weird.”
— Toronto Star
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
New & Selected Fiction
Down the Road to Eternity ebook
The Secret Lives of Litterbugs
and Other (True) Stories