All The Anxious Girls On Earth

Publisher: Penguin Canada
At the heart of Zsuzsi Gartner’s exuberant prose is a cri de coeur for personal responsibility as the sun sets on a century in which the media was omnipresent and everyone felt like a victim. There are no innocent bystanders here, though.

A woman calls in fake bomb threats from the nineteenth floor of a bank tower as revenge against her ex-lover. The mother of a girl killed by a teenage urban guerrilla thrives spectacularly in her industrious grief, transforming herself into a forgiveness guru and talk-show host. Lured into the wilderness by her desire for a man who rebuilds vintage airplanes, a young woman finds she lusts more for biscotti and city sidewalks. A small, heroic child makes a guileless request for pajamas and creates a psychic storm at the center of her anxious, achievement-mad, parents’ lives.

These are deliciously noisy stories—high octane linguistic rocketry that takes on a world gone numb. Often both achingly poignant and funny, these remarkable tales dazzle with a unique sensibility shot through with intellectual verve and crackling black wit.


“Zsuzsi Gartner is a brilliant, ball-busting, mind-expanding writer, the kind who sneaks up on you with her darkness, her wit, her imagination, her humour, her political savvy.” - The Globe and Mail

“[Gartner’s] undeniably original voice charges her stories with irresistible verve.” - Publishers Weekly

“ALL THE ANXIOUS GIRLS ON EARTH is madly engaging and utterly accomplished. Like Lorrie Moore or Mary Flanagan, Gartner skillfully renders her anxious girls with both sadness and joy. Equal parts malevolent wit and great tenderness, these stories are original and reckless, and, like chocolate grasshoppers, are best swallowed whole.” - Lynn Crosbie

“Zsuzsi Gartner’s collection is better than great. The language dances on the pages.” - Calgary Herald

“Gartner writes smart, delicious fiction.... Consider it double espresso for the soul.” - Vancouver Courier

“[Gartner] uses her sharp wit to deft advantage in portraying a parade of clever, observant, sardonic female protagonists.” - Kirkus Reviews

“A combination of wicked humour, wild imagination, mordant satire, close observations, and tight, tight control.” - Georgia Straight

“Gartner wears the short story like spandex on a bicycle courier.” - Quill and Quill (starred review)