Life on Mars

“Sad and funny, delicate and ferocious,
Life on Mars is an intoxicating potpourri of marvelous stories
that bears repeated readings to uncover every subtle nuance.”
Publishers Weekly
Life on Mars short fiction collection by Lori McNulty

Publisher: Goose Lane Editions 

ISBN-10: 0864928882

ISBN-13: 978-0864928887


Life on Mars, Lori McNulty’s wild debut collection, sears the heart with blinding black humour and whiplash fast prose. With a flawless talent for juxtaposing the absurd with the everyday, violence and discord with redemption and metamorphosis, McNulty takes readers on an unexpected ride into the core of human existence.


A middle-aged sportswriter gets a new lease on life with a heart transplant and develops an intimate relationship with his donated heart. Two brothers find in their rotting family tree the tangled roots of a dark childhood memory. A young woman travels to Thailand to reconnect body and soul and returns home, physically transformed, to face the wrath of her estranged mother. A divorced man struggling to rediscover his place in the world hits the road from California to Newfoundland, guided by an irascible squid. These are raw, moving, strange stories — an unforgettable reckoning for our disconnected times.



It is confirmed! There is Life on Mars and it is fierce and ferocious and full of love and loneliness. Lori McNulty’s stories are wise and funny and they pound with an energy that is simultaneously physical and philosophical. Get ready to go, boldly, where Canadian fiction has never been before.

– Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist, Alex McLeod

These narratives are fresh and startling. They confirm Lori McNulty as a writer who can roam the universe, crossing boundaries of gender, species and even mortality, while never straying from her native terrain – that of the human heart.”

– K.D. Miller, author of All Saints, and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Finalist

“Each of these stories moves like a lit fuse racing towards a keg of dynamite. Life on Mars boldly excavates the darkness within to emerge with its characters’ bloodied but still pulsing hearts held high. Lori McNulty leads her teenage stoners and cutters, her conflicted widows, her mentally ill, her sentient squids and many-armed gods to the edge of the cliff and dares them to live.

This is ferocious fiction from a new master witness of life on earth.”

– Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist, Zsuzsi Gartner

“In Life on Mars we find stoner beauty and deft fables brimming with animal grief and invective. Our characters reach slippery visions about siblings and mothers and those sad swinging doors of home that might kick you out or welcome you inside.”

— Mark Anthony Jarman, author of Knife Party at the Hotel Europa

Available online and at your local bookstore. Order your copy today.