QualitySnacks_bookcoverDriven by strange ambitions, bungled love, and a taste for physical danger, the characters in this collection enact the paradox in the concept of a quality snack: the dream of transmuting the mundane into something extraordinary. Andy Mozina depicts high-stakes performances to gratify both deep and superficial needs: A man experiencing a career crisis watches a seventy-four-year-old great grandmother perform aerial acrobatics at the top of a swaying 110-foot pole. A troubled young man tries to end his father’s verbal harassment by successfully hunting a polar bear. A woman saddled with a frightening medical diagnosis faces down an armed robber in a hospital parking lot. Santa Claus reboots his career as a one-man baseball team. And in the title story, a flavor engineer at Frito-Lay tries to win his boss’s heart with his strategy to reposition Doritos from snack food to main course.

“This collection of 15 unusually well-crafted pieces of short fiction will be savored in its variety of literary elements—point of view, voice, humor—and Mozina’s instinct for the apt phrase. Characters are made memorable and touching by their thoughts and actions as well as by their humanity. Loss of lovers, friends, and, quite often, a sense of self-worth make these stories resonate with lingering sadness. In “Overpass,” a teenage boy tries to escape from overburdening family responsibilities by sneaking out for a lark with a friend, only to have the night end in tragedy. Mozina sprinkles humor throughout his stories, which contain startling plot ideas and smart language twists, and takes narratives from a realistic beginning to an unforeseen ending. “No Joy in Santa’s Village” may be the best send-up of fantasy baseball ever, depicting Santa, friendly elves, dissident elves, and different forms of technology and culminating in a gloriously wacky ending. These stories, largely set in the Midwest, will appeal to readers of Adam Langer, George Saunders, and anyone who appreciates good writing.”
–Ellen Loughran, Booklist

“There’s no denying his talent, and these are accomplished stories expressing an utterly individual spirit, stories, furthermore, by a writer clearly in control of his materials and meticulously constructed…. Mr. Mozina’s work is first rate and fans of Carver, Saunders and a certain kind of Marquez-esque fabulist literature will find much to like in this collection.”
–Gareth Spark, Fjords Review

“Comically menacing, or perhaps menacingly comic.”
Recommended collection.
–Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Mozina is a rare combination: both a literary writer and a really funny one. More times than I can count, I laughed out loud reading Quality Snacks.”
–Kelly Fordon, author of Garden for the Blind, Michigan Public Radio

“Andy Mozina is a magician. I can’t think of a species of masculine follywhether guilty rebellion, or panicky narcissism, or dependency disguised as tyranny, or anomie passing as glib enthusiasm for new lines of an employer’s tortilla chipswhose vocabulary and broken inner self Andy Mozina has not deftly conjured up for this collection. And he is as funny as he is wise.”
Jaimy Gordon, National Book Award–winning author of Lord of Misrule

 “Andy Mozina’s dark comic midwestern genius thrills and troubles me, and I want more of it. Each of these stories is a philosophical puzzle, and each is a strange adventure to the foreign land that is another person’s mind. Through his plainspoken narrators, Mozina takes us farther than we meant to go—to the edge of the Arctic Ocean, to Elvis’s bedroom, to the terrible confusion at the heart of every human relationship. I love this collection.”
Bonnie Jo Campbell, bestselling author of Once Upon a River and National Book Award finalist for American Salvage (Wayne State University Press, 2009)

“Andy Mozina’s Quality Snacks is a collection of sad Rust Belt love songs. He maps a territory of dispirited office workers and aging small town beauties, all of them already beaten, always on the verge of worse. Echoes of Vonnegut, Borges, Cheever, and Saunders converge in these strip mall parking lots, in these dimly lit motels. Mozina asserts himself here as the fabulist poet of the Great Lakes working stiff.”
Tony D’Souza, author of Whiteman and Mule

“It’s a powerful effect, to wedge the sad into the funny, the strange into the normal in order to split a character (or world) apart, and it’s one that I’m fond of. The oddness and commitment to the internal logic of these stories cements it: Mozina’s creating his own worlds, in the same circles, maybe, as George Saunders’ or Brock Clarke’s, but distinctly his own.”
Ander Monson, editor of the literary magazine DIAGRAM and author of Vanishing Point

May 2014
Paperback, ISBN 978-0-8143-4015-8
eBook, ISBN 978-0-8143-4016-5
Made in Michigan Writers Series
Cover design by Sharp Designs
Wayne State University Press
Detroit, Michigan 48201-1309

Available from Wayne State University Press and Amazon.

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