Explosions (2018)




Explosions: Michael Bay and the Pyrotechnics of the Imagination is something completely different, a reimagining of Michael Bay as a cinematic genius in an action comedy of a novel that features an allstar cast (Michael Bay, Meatloaf, Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Plato, etc.). Zany and irreverent, it’s a satire-ridden medley of fact and fiction, an epic inside joke for those up on their ’90s pop culture and Philosophy 101.

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Finalist, Governor General’s Award for Translation
Finalist, Cole Foundation Prize for Translation

High brow + low brow = Bayhem

Written by Mathieu Poulin
Translated by Aleshia Jensen
276 pages • 9781771861519 • 8.5″ x 5.5″
FICTION / Literary
FICTION / Satire
Publication Date: September 15, 2018

Mathieu Poulin brings us an action comedy of a novel, starring big-budget, explosion-happy movie director Michael Bay.
What if Bad Boys was a film about decolonization? What if The Rock was about failing to be recognized by one’s peers? If Armageddon was about a post-human future and the mysteries of meaning? And Pearl Harbor a reflection on the freedom afforded an artist when transforming fact into fiction?
What if Michael Bay was, against all odds, a misunderstood cinematic genius?

Michael Bay • Jerry Bruckheimer
Ben Affleck • Meat Loaf
Don Simpson • Will Smith
Martin Lawrence • Neil deGrasse Tyson
Nicolas Cage • Sean Connery
Quentin Tarantino • Bruce Willis
Plato, Sartre, Kant, Derrida & Nietzsche


“a hilarious and epic pursuit for truth and the meaning of life.” (All Lit Up)

Explosions is a thrilling read and Jensen’s sharp and lyrical translation lives up to the promise of Poulin’s excellent confidence trick of a narrative.” (Julia Peterson, Reading in Translation)

“Boom! Movies, pyrotechnics and philosophy rub shoulders in Mathieu Poulin’s inventive novel Explosions [which] stands out with its bizarre blend of Hollywood magic, philosophical musings and cameo appearances. […] It’s all great fun.” (Tony Malone, Tony’s Reading List)

Explosions is “utterly, unapologetically over the top and “consistently funny, writes Dean Garlick in the Montreal Review of Books.

“Part biography, part novel, part philosophical treatise, and part Michael Bay movie, Poulin’s work… blend[s] realism, intellectualism, and the fantastical in absurd and entertaining ways. […] Poulin’s kaleidoscope of high and lowbrow culture may not appeal to every reader. But for those who choose to strap on some plastic explosives and rappel down its cliff of mayhem, there is much to admire before the final blast of insight.” (Dean Garlick, Montreal Review of Books)

“The overlap here between formal aesthetics and metaphysics in the Aristotelian sense is useful to understanding how Explosions works, but it doesn’t quite capture the novel’s pulse. This is a very, very, funny book.” (Scott Beauchamp)

“An unusual mixture of biography, comedy, action, and analysis, Explosions takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to one of the most popular but artistically dismissed film directors working today. […] an amusing work of film criticism.” (★★★★★, Foreword Reviews)

“this novel will appeal to fans of film and philosophers alike […] ingenious and well-executed.” (★★★★★, The Miramichi Reader)

Explosions often has the feel of an intellectual exercise, but it’s overall a worthwhile exercise. It’s tightly written, exploring its ideas just enough without going overlong—something the real Michael Bay might learn from. What’s perhaps most subversive in the book, ultimately, is the way it develops its satire not by exaggerating the failings of its lead character, but by imagining him as so much better than the figure he’s based on.” (Matthew Surridge, Splice Today)

“What we have here is a book that reimagines Michael Bay as a left field man that has used his films to bring a subtle message across.” Explosions is “tongue in cheek and “fun, “a book that can make you laugh out loud at times […] one of those books that shows you how comic novels should be. (Winstonsdad home of translated fiction)



Born in 1983, Mathieu Poulin preferred movies to books for the longest time. He teaches literature in Montreal and began writing only recently. Explosions is his first novel.


Image by Julie Delporte


Aleshia Jensen is a Montreal-based translator and former bookseller. Explosions is her first translation of a novel.




✓ Who said literature in translation couldn’t be fun?