A fastidious pet robot with a knack for knitting. A soporific giant pitching camp in the middle of a city. A mysterious mime whose upcoming performance has the whole town on edge.
The stories in Mark Polanzak’s BOA Short Fiction Prize-winning The OK End of Funny Town stitch fantastic situations into the drab fabric of everyday life. Polanzak delights in stretching every boundary he encounters, from the academic focus on practical learning at the New Community School, to the ever-changing tastes of diners in search of the next big trend in local cuisine.
Wondrous yet familiar, The OK End of Funny Town excavates the layers between our collective obsession with passing fads and our secret yearning for lasting connection.
“What a joyfully playful collection, full of giants, robots, and pink toilets, as well as loss, resilience, family, and the slipperiness of time. Polanzak's giddy imagination and crisp, rhythm-driven sentences delight the mind and the ear.”
—Aimee Bender, author of Willful Creatures
“The end of town Mark Polanzak haunts is a fabulous fabulist's zone where all sorts of smart, poignant magic occurs. After reading these stories, you'll never view your personal robot, or reality, the same way again.”
—Sam Lipsyte, author of Hark
“Polanzak has a phenomenal tragicomic sensibility. Keenly observant of the finer points of loneliness and the uphill task of finding love and understanding, he ultimately demonstrates the urgency and rare beauty of that very connection, both to self and others.”
—Aurelie Sheehan, author of Once into the Night
“Mark Polanzak's stories are full of wondrous beings, inventive activities, and new and surprising happenings—and they're also well aware that much of the time we find the wondrous and inventive and newly surprising kind of irritating. (After all, what good is the spectacle of a giant moving to town if his presence lengthens your morning commute?) Throughout this wryly moving collection, Polanzak celebrates the mundane beauty of everyday life by contrasting it against the wild adventures we perhaps only pretend to crave.”
—Matt Bell, author of Scrapper
“Mark Polanzak’s The Ok End of Funny Town is packed with fantastic worlds, rich with menace and wonder and high-wire feats of voice. Here you’ll find mimes, robots, clones, summer camps designed to help adults recover their lost childhoods—and sharply funny insights into the human condition. A wonderful debut.”
—Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel