Buying Cigarettes for the Dog

by Stuart Ross

April 2009
5.5 x 7.5 paper 200 pages
CDN $19.95 | US $19.95

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Winner of the 2010 ReLit Award for Short Fiction!

Finalist for the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award!

Finalist for Trade Fiction Book of the Year at the 2010 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!

Winner of Book Cover Design of the Year at the 2010 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!

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-century Earth; here is an absurdism so true that it becomes real.



“It’s as if Jane Austen and Franz Kafka collaborated on a short story collection while Albert Einstein acted as editor.”
—Patricia Robertson, The Toronto Star

“A writer with an original sensibility, he’s got a gazillion curious, funny and disturbing things to say about our lives and our world. Read this book—you’ll see.”
—M.A.C. Farrant, The Vancouver Sun

“Ross doesn’t waste a word, and the impact is often breathtaking.”
Now Magazine

“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, author of The Broken Record Technique and The Man Game