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No Call Too Small (Paperback)
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“Martens’ work would be impressive in any era, but it is particularly timely today. It is wonderful to come upon an author who faces into the horrific absurdities of modern life without flinching, a stylist who delivers his most powerful satiric points with laser sharp accuracy and lyrically beautiful language."—Vancouver Sun
“Haunting, darkly funny situations, captured in crisp, spare prose, will appeal to fans of George Saunders.”—Publishers Weekly
By the end of the day, a cop must choose between ethics and social death. A camp counsellor, stuck deep in the woods with a small group of boys, only has a few hours before the DTs kick in. Adult children scramble to get the best of what remains of their mother's estate, but funeral plans may be premature. Sandwiched between a depressed mother and a careless father, a young girl must help attract customers to the family business, no matter the cost.
The stories in No Call Too Small represent micro-scale disaster tourism on a winding road that is long and dark. Driving too fast, weaving between flaming wrecks, and drifting through cliff-side curves, there's little choice but to hang on and meet whatever's over the rise head on.
“Marten’s strong prose is a pleasure to read, with dark humour and lively storytelling that brings a quirky humanity to his characters.”—Janie Chang, Globe and Mail bestselling author of Dragon Springs Road
“A beautifully crafted collection.”—Marcia Butler, author of Pickle’s Progress
About the Author
Oscar Martens has been publishing stories and poems since George Michael carelessly whispered, and believes an entire world can fit inside a fifteen minute story. Many of them have been nominated for notable awards and published in journals such as The Journey Prize Stories, Prairie Fire, Queen's Quarterly, Quarry, The Malahat Review, Event, and Grain.
Oscar lives with his wife in Burnaby, BC, Canada.
Learn more about Oscar and his work at www.oscarmartens.com
“Martens’s striking, perceptive collection illuminates a range of Canadians in moments of bad luck and dissatisfaction. His haunting, darkly funny situations, captured in crisp, spare prose, will appeal to fans of George Saunders.” —Publishers Weekly
“Taut, efficient and always just a beat away from heartbreak, No Call Too Small is a beautifully crafted collection. Martens deftly explores surprising and unexpected worlds, using them as a prism to dissect and understand human nature.” Marcia Butler, author of Pickle’s Progress
“Oscar Martens’s characters hurtle their way toward potential disaster or redemption in these vivid stories of lives burdened by misunderstandings and disappointment, usually self-inflicted. Martens’s strong prose is a pleasure to read, with dark humour and lively storytelling that brings a quirky humanity to his characters.” —Janie Chang, Globe and Mail bestselling author of Dragon Springs Road
“Deeply humane and often darkly funny, Martens's stories appeal to the slightly off-centre observer in all of us. He writes with luminous honesty of the restlessness of never quite fitting in, whether it be in the landscape, family or community. From the girl who rides the Ferris wheel all day to try to draw customers into her father's failing prairie gas station to the cop who removes his prosthetic nose when he wants to scare criminals into submission, these characters invite tenderness as they provoke and entertain.” —Nadine McInnis, author of Delirium for Solo Harp
"Oscar Martens’s collection is a warm, safe port in the storm that is life these days. His writing is vivid and clear, his characters honest and their stories full of the details and emotional truth that make them real.” —Jennifer Haupt, Editor, One True Thing, Psychology Today
“Smart, honest, sparely eloquent, moving, humane, and disillusioned in the healthiest sense of a word that gets way too much bad press. Martens is funny, too, desperately so—and how else is a writer supposed to observe and portray this world we've made?" —"Steven Heighton, Governor General's Award winner and author of The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep
“A dystopian nightmare that flips the world upside-down and inside-out, in just a few taut pages. Oscar Martens is the twitchy love child of Tom Waits, Charles Bukowski and Ricky Gervais. These stories are lean, and loaded, and devastatingly true. In just a few pages, Martens throws his readers into the deep end of a swimming pool swarming with sharks, or piranhas, or hungry polar bears – and you, dear reader, have a flesh wound. These short stories read like brilliant, poignant novels. Highly recommended.” —"Thomas Trofimuk, Author of Waiting for Columbus
"Oscar Martens faces into the horrific absurdities of modern life without flinching, and delivers his most powerful satiric points with laser sharp accuracy and lyrically beautiful language." —Tom Sandborn, The Province
"Excruciatingly funny . . . Burnaby short story collection plumbs the heart of darkness and comes up laughing." —Tom Sandborn, Calgary Herald
"These expertly crafted stories are the perfect read for either a cold night sitting by the fire where one can devour them all at once, or, read over a longer period of time, enjoying one, then reflecting on it before beginning the next." —Crystal Mackenzie, FreeFall Magazine
"Martens’ work would be impressive in any era, but it is particularly timely today. It is wonderful to come upon an author who faces into the horrific absurdities of modern life without flinching, a stylist who delivers his most powerful satiric points with laser sharp accuracy and lyrically beautiful language." —Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun