One Bloody Thing After Another

BOOK: One Bloody Thing After Another

“There have been spoof letter-writing books in the past, like
The Lazlo Letters
by Don Novello (a.k.a. Father Guido Sarducci) and several that followed. While the protagonist in
is just as unhinged as his predecessors, he's significantly less giddy. A real story unfolds in these pages, about a departed brother and the sibling left behind. It's sad and fragmented and, in places, funny. This slender epistolary novel is charming.”

Los Angeles Times

“[A] collection of wry, clever and demoniacal job-application letters, teeming with knife-edged malice and stomach-tearing hilarity. . . .
successfully deludes the fear of the faceless corporate entity by empowering the faceless applicant who has nothing to lose except securing a job he or she probably doesn't want. If Comeau's rebel-yell manifesto catches on like old Prometheus's gift did all those years ago, human resources will never be the same again.”

Globe and Mail

“Joey Comeau's collection of real cover letters,
(ECW Press) is pretty much sui generis. Not to mention sweetly written, bitter and bitterly funny. . . . One of the season's most remarkable books.”


“The letters are by turns hilarious and tragic, highly inappropriate and oversharing. The novel that results is both extremely funny and extremely sad, and above all, original — I've never read anything like it, and I want to read it again and again. . . . [Comeau] is a preternaturally skilled novelist, and he's written one of the most original and most affecting books I've read in years.”


“Joey Comeau's
is Robert Silverberg's
Dying Inside
as redone by Steve Aylett. It's Don Novello's
The Lazlo Letters
as reinterpreted by Stanislaw Lem. It's Judy Blume's
Are you There God? It's me, Margaret
as chewed up and spit out by J. G. Ballard. This epistolary fantasia viscerally captures the insanity of capitalism and the marketplace and blends it with domestic and personal anguish to produce a book whose melancholy is leavened by a surprising hilarity. These are the awesomely goofy files of some alien or celestial Human Resources Department, delivered straight to your door as if by the Smoking Gun website.”

— Paul Di Filippo, author of
The Steampunk Trilogy

“If I were one of the lucky
managers who received an Overqualified cover letter, I'm not sure I'd hire Joey Comeau. But I am sure that the next time I found myself lying awake in bed at
3 am
, I'd be reaching for his number.”

— Ryan North,
Dinosaur Comics

“Each letter rapidly digresses into something more akin to a diary entry than a professional missive. There is speculation as to humanity's future, reminiscences from the narrator's childhood, confessions of vulnerability and of sexual desire, all punctuated by vitriolic humour and unsettling instances of violence. There is much frustration in these letters — born of capitalism's absurdities and of personal calamities — but there is also humour, compassion, and joy.”

Quill & Quire

is unlike anything you've ever read. Each of Joey Comeau's letters comments, sometimes subtly, sometimes not, on the emptiness of the system to which we bow during a job search while it simultaneously reveals the humor, beauty, and pain that is all else in life, which, Joey Comeau wants you to realize, is short.”


A sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-crushingly sad romp through a man's swelling nihilism and disenchantment. . . . This book is very much about nostalgia for a past of exaggerated quirks and curious beauty. So many of us are compelled to believe these things are on the fringes, are odd and unordinary, but this little novella, much like Miranda July of David Eggers' stories, tries to portray these things unashamedly, as  ‘something that feels perfect and correct.'”


] has found a permanent home in my collection of books that have changed the way I look at and think about the world around me. . . . The book is chaotic and contradictory; incomplete, yet full of life; full of charm and wit and character.”

The Uniter

“Joey Comeau's new novel
delivers an addictively humorous and dark alternative to the stone-cold task of getting employers to know you through a piece of paper. . . .
is a quick read, but crackles with hilarious desperation and deadpan sincerity. With these humorous letters, Comeau reveals how life is actually lived, and not just marketed.”


“I guarantee that you will laugh out-loud at least once and that you will try to share what was so funny with someone who will just stare at you like you are a freak.”


“The sincerity with which he writes is mesmerizing, and even though each cover letter is a scant two pages, they're full of painful emotion. It's a unique way to tell a story and definitely worth checking out.”

The Arizona Daily Wildcat

is the type of book you don't read, you devour. Because the book is a series of letters, it's short, and you can read it at your leisure. Maybe you can finish it in an afternoon, but you'll never truly stop reading it. Years from now, you'll unbind your tattered first edition, flip through the pages and reread an especially meaningful letter.”

Jack Central

fears no depths. It is unpredictably humorous. It is intriguingly disgusting. It is profoundly sad. And it's sexy, in ways we might not admit out loud. The narrator's internal complexities make the usually sterile cover letter form pulse with breath and blood. . . . If you've ever felt crazy, this book will help you realize that you're not alone. If you've ever felt normal, this book will show you what you've been missing.”


“[A] magnificent and timely curiosity . . . The letters are baffling and amusing at times, poignant or obsessive on other occasions. . . . During a time of economic uncertainty — when the practical and the existential seem eerily akin —
expresses the irrepressible humanity at the heart of our industries, and affirms the fruits of our many labours.”

Scene Magazine

“For anyone who has had the grievous task of summing up the core of their experience and extracting suitable parts of their personality to submit in a cover letter, author Joey Comeau's novel,
, is a breath of fresh air.”


“Ranging from pithy and heartwarming to darkly funny and bizarre, the letters sparkle with the inappropriate use of unabashed personal honesty in a traditionally dry and humourless form. . . . [
is] beautifully executed satire, perfect for anyone who needs a good laugh (like the unemployed).”


Copyright © Joey Comeau, 2010

Published by ECW Press, 2120 Queen Street East, Suite 200,

Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E 1E2 / 416.694.3348 / [email protected]

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any process — electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise — without the prior written permission of the copyright owners and ECW Press.


Comeau, Joey, 1980-

One bloody thing after another / Joey Comeau.

ISBN 978-1-55022-916-5

I. Title.

PS8605.O537O54 2010 C813'.6 C2009-905969-X

Editor for the press: Michael Holmes / a misFit book

Layout and design: Rachel Ironstone

Cover image: Emily Horne

The publication of
One Bloody Thing After Another
has been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $20.1 million in writing and publishing throughout Canada, by the Ontario Arts Council, by the Government of Ontario through Ontario Book Publishing Tax Credit, by the OMDC Book Fund, an initiative of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and by the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (

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