Searing, troubling, and funny, these revolutionary, linked stories flit and dart among the shadows of small town life, and the touching and heartbreaking characters that occupy it. Employees use roadkill instead of faux pelts during a build-a-critter battle for mall supremacy. Former band geeks are harassed with mutilated musical instruments and then murdered. The collection is haunted by allusions to a fatal cannonball jump that crescendos in the explosive final story. An extraordinary addition to the canon of gonzo fiction, Congratulations on Your Martyrdom! introduces Zachary Tyler Vickers as an exciting new author whose unflinching prose grabs you and won’t let go.
|"A debut full of heart and energy, by an intense, fervent writer whose dedication shows in every line." —George Saunders, author of Tenth of December: Stories
"The stories are linked, by place, by time, by characters, by small events and large tragedies that pop up in brief mentions in one story and then disappear for several pieces, only to reappear and be examined from different perspectives more fully. The end effect is a set of connected stories that has the power of a novel and a magnetic, almost hypnotic pull on the reader." —Paul Griner, author of Hurry Please I Want To Know
"Zachary Tyler Vickers’s Congratulations on Your Martyrdom! is delightfully metafictive, admirably invested in social critique, and wisely aware of both the benefits and pitfalls of domestic verisimilitude. The interconnected nature of the stories allows Vickers to manage complex and complete world-building. An interesting and original addition to the canon of gonzo fiction!" —Josh Russell, author of Yellow Jack
"Congratulations on Your Martyrdom! is full of inventive mischief, strange new worlds, and good old human longing. Zachary Tyler Vickers is a true original, with a wild and rambunctious imagination, and deadeye for the funnybone." —Michelle Huneven, author of Off Course
"In Congratulations on Your Martyrdom!, Zachary Tyler Vickers cannonballs from the highest diving board into the teeming pool of contemporary literature. These playfully irreverent stories are populated by optimistic underdogs—working stiffs, grievers, the lovelorn—earnestly struggling to keep their heads above water. Mr. Vickers, with kindness, humility, and precision of voice, extends a lifeline to these beautiful weirdos and, with a gentle tug, sends us skyward to soar above this busy, busy, busy modern world." —Jason Ockert, author of Wasp Box
"Congratulations on Your Martyrdom! is one of the most addictive collections of short fiction I've read in years. Whimsical, wild and gleefully absurd to the point of wickedness, Vickers's stories revel in the collapse of American culture. Once these stories grab, they do not let go." —Jessica Anthony, author of The Convalescent
"This is a collection full of lingering stories and lovely lines, and it introduces Vickers as a vital new writer. His stories occupy a unique middle zone between the memorably bizarre and the movingly sweet-hearted, the deeply felt and the dementedly funny. He's also a tireless stylist, capturing his characters' sad-sack vernacular and tweaking every sentence until it yields some tongue-twisting lyricism." —Bennett Sims, author of A Questionable Shape
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Table of Contents
Disfigured Paper Animals
Elvis The Pelvis
Not All The Dominoes Having Yet Fallen
That Which Has No Fixed Order
Everything in Relation to Everything Else
My Kind of Utmost Tender