"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 ?
Martens's striking, perceptive debut collection illuminates a range of Canadians in moments of bad luck and dissatisfaction. In the title story, an unnamed Port Moody, B.C., cop, whose face has been disfigured from a dog attack, refuses to wear his prosthetic nose, costing him his relationship and earning him the nickname "The Face." In "Capture and Release," Martens drolly sketches a man who prides himself on having built a house on the highest point in Victoria, only to be plagued by daily greetings from a hobo camped nearby and regret for using energy-inefficient glass. In "Breaking on the Wheel," Bob, owner of a small gas station outside of Winnipeg, attempts to lure customers with a dilapidated Ferris wheel. He forces his daughter, Dana, to continuously ride the wheel with a constant smile to show how much fun she's having. In "How Beautiful. How Moving," Bella's three adult children travel from disparate parts of Canada to ransack her home for possessions while she's in the hospital; too wrapped up in staking their claims to visit her, they cause Bella to wish she were dead. Martens's haunting, darkly funny situations, captured in crisp, spare prose, will appeal to fans of George Saunders.