If reading most short story collections is like canoeing gently down a tranquil and picturesque river, then reading Spencer Gordon’s Cosmo is like jet skiing over Niagara Falls while Leonard Cohen whispers in your ear.
You’ll join Matthew McConaughey as he drives naked across the desert in a surreal dark night of the soul. You’ll meet a young wrestling fan half-nelsoned by circumstances and a sister’s best intentions. You’ll hear a Miley Cyrus admirer defend his passion in a 3,000-word sentence. And you’ll watch an aging porn star don a grotesque dinosaur costume to film the sex scene of his life.
Through ten incendiary and mercurial stories, Cosmo will take you on a rollicking ride over the churning waters of pop culture and the malaise of our solitary existence.
‘Try any first page here, and, if you are not mouth agape with voyeuristic thrill, then this writer is not Spencer Gordon, one of the most daring writers I’ve ever come across. These stories read like collaborations between Stephen King and TMZ with Borges and Nabokov on the edits. Each short story sounds with the thunder of a novel. Enthralling, dark, gut-busting stuff!'
– Jeff Parker, author of Ovenman and
Igor in Crisis: A Russian Journal
‘Sprung from Spencer Gordon’s media-saturated world and fuelled by his immense talent, Cosmo is a giddy ride of cultural riffs and intoxicating language. And in the midst of this sensual swirl of words, the reader encounters a van-load of profound and mournful truths.’
– Trevor Cole, author of Practical Jean
and The Fearsome Particles
‘Demonstrates a refreshing willingness to test the plasticity of language and structure ... The 10 stories in Cosmo are an investigation into the nature of authenticity in an age that seems ever more mediated and synthetic. How is it possible to live a meaningful life in the world that lionizes surfaces and shallowness? Gordon provides no comfortable, simplistic answers, but his approach to asking the questions is startling and invigorating.’
– Steven W. Beattie, Quill and Quire, Starred Review
‘Not only a collection of fiction but also a work of cultural criticism ... It succeeds not only as a well-wrought and keenly written collection of narratives, but also as a work of analysis ... Cosmo is a rare book in that it is brave enough to explore the ways in which being loved in private has a very real counterpoint in public, in the form of fame, public identity and cultural cache. In doing so, Gordon dissects the very idea of the authentic in an increasingly public world in which the self is ever more constructed.’
– Natalie Zina Walschots, National Post
‘The cheek and irony serve as mechanisms for a throat-punchingly intimate portrayal of doubt and self-loss ... Cosmo presents its stakes loudly and clearly, tinged as much in neon as in sepia—or maybe a heartbreakingly tacky sepia-toned filter. These are arresting stories, and as voyeurs and disciples and melancholics, we are all made implicit in this grotesquification.’
– Rob Benvie, HTMLGIANT
‘Disarming, technically accomplished ... deserves a wide readership ... Gordon finds what matters in his exploration of one of the widest varieties of psyches you are likely to come across in short fiction.’
– Victor Enns, Winnipeg Free Press
‘In his first collection of fiction, Cosmo, Spencer Gordon shows us his Mariah Carey-esque range. With expert wordsmithery, Gordon moves from affecting familial realism to absurd vision quests in celebrity to experimental palate cleansers ... Brave, poignant, and hilarious.’
– Caitlynn Cummings, This Magazine
‘His stories are fun, intoxicating, and the language is drunk on a high-energy style more lively than a dancefloor ... His work is other-worldly, and his imagination rocket-launches CanLit to brave new heights, soaring past the black hole of sameness and familiarity of story that most of CanLit gets sucked into ... You haven’t read a voice like this before, and you won’t forget it either.’
– Chad Pelley, Telegraph-Journal (Saint John)
‘Cosmo is impossible to tear away from without gushing embarrassing mawkishness ... Gordon has the rare ability, startling when revealed, when flexed, to make one laugh (this is a wildly funny book), then, and within such tight proximity, perhaps even feel a choke.’
– Karl Fenske, Lemon Hound
‘Both heartwarming and heartbreaking ... an intriguing and insightful cultural artifact.’
– Keith Cadieux, The Winnipeg Review
‘Spencer Gordon goes places I didn’t know a writer outside of TMZ could go.’
– Alessandra Ferreri, Book Stylist
‘Not your average collection of short stories ... A dark collection, filled with murder and fear ... [with] a faint undercurrent of hope ... A fast and interesting read that may leave you breathless.’
– Merry Hakin, Scene (London)
‘I salute it. It is difficult and a riddle; it is art ... Bravo.'
– Michael Bryson, Underground Book Club