The first book of fiction since 1997 from the consummately underground Stuart Ross blends a characteristic penchant for experiment with the measured skill of a seasoned, highly disciplined craftsman. 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. Ross’s stories hold a mirror to the absurdities of 21st-century earth; his is an absurdism so true that it becomes real.
“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
“Hank Williams haunts the stories in Buying Cigarettes for the Dog, but Randy Newman is the book’s presiding spirit. Like Newman, Stuart Ross delivers wit with a bitter bite. Somehow, his melancholy is humorous; his misanthropy, humane; his absurdity, believable. With deadpan style and Tin Pan Alley timing, Ross has given us a hilarious, harrowing book.” — Derek McCormack