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The Montreal Review of Books today published a review of Larry Tremblay’s gripping novel, The Obese Christ. Here are some highlights:
a disconcerting book – and that’s exactly what it intends to be. Three dozen scene-driven chapters, each two or three pages long; dense in their depiction of a man’s confusion, lucid and clear as a chair dragged across the linoleum floor of a quiet kitchen.
And though he talks to people, there’s not a single dialogue exchange in the entire book. This dehumanizing device depicts the way Edgar uses others solely to enact his mutating justifications as he moves from rescue to kidnapping to murder to exorcism – it’s dreadful, but incredibly effective as a technique. There are not many books that make this reader’s flesh crawl, but The Obese Christ is undoubtedly one of them. …
One can debate whether or not society needs another reason to be afraid of strangers and to put space between citizens, but there is no moral in this book, and neither is there moralism. There is no instructive desire, just a brief and fetid wallow in the mind of a very sick puppy, executed with composed atmosphere, dread-stretching pacing, and consummate control. If it sounds like your kind of fun, you’ll be hard pressed to find better …
On the first Wednesday of every (Gregorian) month, subscribers receive Talon’s e-newsletter by email and learn news about books, authors, events and the general goings-on at Talonbooks. Our November e-newsletter is due in a couple of weeks.
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Photo by Itai Erdal
Based on the poetry of the original Four Horsemen – bpNichol, Steve McCaffery, Paul Dutton, and Rafael Barreto-Rivera – The Four Horsemen Project is a remarkable theatrical experience that breathes life into some nearly forgotten work – iconoclastic, brilliant, delightfully irreverent – that set the whole world on its ear. Live, on-stage, swirling animation and sonic hi-jinx make the poetry of Canada’s 1970s avant-garde scene leap off the page and onto the stage. Don’t miss this multi-disciplinary extravaganza!
October 28, 2014 – November 2, 2014
The Cultch (Historic Theatre)
Photo by John Lauener
Tickets start at $19 and are available online or by calling The Cultch box office at 604.251.1363.
Photo by Itai Erdal
The winners of this year’s City of Victoria (BC) Book Prizes were announced last evening at its annual gala. Talonbooks is pleased to announce that author M.A.C. Farrant was named the winner, for her collection of “miniature” fiction, The World Afloat. From the City of Victoria Book Prizes press release:
Two Greater Victoria authors were recognized for their literary achievements tonight at the 2014 Victoria Book Prizes Gala. M.A.C. (Marion) Farrant, author of The World Afloat (Talonbooks) was named the winner of the 11th annual City of Victoria Butler Book Prize; and Daniel Loxton, with Jim W.W. Smith, author of Pterosaur Trouble (Kids Can Press) was named the winner of the 7th annual Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize.
Mayor Dean Fortin and event sponsor Brian H. Butler presented Ms. Farrant with the $5,000 prize for her award-winning fiction. Samantha Holmes of Bolen Books presented the $5,000 Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize to Mr. Loxton for his award-winning book for children ages 4-7.
Despite her prolificacy and acclaim, this is Farrant’s first award, and we couldn’t be happier for her. Congratulations, M.A.C.!
The World Afloat, a collection of seventy-five irreverent and humorous stories that meld narrative with elements of prose poem and farce, is available from Talonbooks for the strikingly affordable price of $12.95.
It’s a happy day at Talonbooks! We finally get to have and hold one of the most important books of the season: Peacock Blue: The Collected Poems of Phyllis Webb (edited by John F. Hulcoop). A limited number of hardcover and paperback editions of Peacock Blue have arrived from the printer and will be available for sale only at Webb’s Vancouver Writers’ Fest event later this month.
When Webb published Wilson’s Bowl in 1980, Northrop Frye hailed it as “a landmark in Canadian literature.” Wilson’s Bowl was Webb’s fifth volume of poetry. Three more followed and then she fell silent, turning from literature to abstract painting. Peacock Blue compiles in a single volume all of Webb’s published, unpublished, and uncollected works from a writing career that spanned fifty years. It offers readers the opportunity to relish the arc of Webb’s entire poetic oeuvre.
Come to the Vancouver Writers’ Fest and buy your copy! Webb will be celebrated on Saturday, October 25, 2014. A number of poets, each impressive in his or her own right, will read from Webb’s work, and Webb will be in attendance. This will be the first time Webb has been off of Salt Spring Island, where she makes her home, in many years, and it will be a unique opportunity to see her in person. Tickets for “A Celebration of Phyllis Webb” are still available, though more than half have been sold; if you’d like to attend, now is the time to carpe the diem!
The hardcover edition of Peacock Blue will be available for sale from bookstores and from our website in November, and the paperback in Spring 2015.
The second novel in Michel Tremblay’s Desrosiers Diaspora series is hot off the presses!
In Crossing the City, we meet Maria as she leaves the city of Providence, Rhode Island, pregnant and alone. Two years later, we also meet Maria’s older daughter, Rhéauna, as she disembarks the train at Windsor Station, having crossed the continent from her grandparents’ farm in Saskatchewan, called home to Montreal to care for her one-year-old baby brother while Maria works. Readers will delight in the affectionate and accurate depiction of Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood at the beginning of the last century, and Tremblay fans will revel in the backstory to the characters of his great Chronicles of Plateau Mont-Royal, particularly of his mother, celebrated as Nana throughout his work.
Crossing the City was translated by Sheila Fischman and is available for $16.95.
In a press release dated Wednesday October 8, 2014, the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR) announced its receipt of a gift of $548,000 at the bequest of late actor Ron Braden (1931-2012). This is the largest donation ever made to Theatre Museum Canada, and it will establish The Gertrude Isobelle Braden Fund (named for the actor’s mother), which will help the organization preserve Canadian theatre heritage for future generations.
Founded in 1991 as a committee of what is now the CATR, Theatre Museum Canada is a registered charity that shares Canada’s rich theatre legacy with Canadians and theatre enthusiasts everywhere. Its programming includes special exhibits at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and the Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History at Hart House Theatre, the Theatre Museum Goes Backstage series of public learning events, caring for a growing collection of theatre artefacts, and – its most popular program – the Legend Library of videotaped interviews conducted by actor R.H. Thomson with pioneers of Canadian theatre (available online at www.TheatreMuseumCanada.ca).
Congratulations to the CATR. Long live Canadian theatre!
We received the happy news on Tuesday morning that two Talon titles have been shortlisted for the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Translation. The GGs are one of Canada’s most important book prizes, and these nominations mark Talon’s forty-seventh and forty-eighth GG nominations or wins. The two titles are And Slowly Beauty by Michel Nadeau (translated by Maureen Labonté) and Christina, The Girl King by Michel Marc Bouchard (translated by Linda Gaboriau). Congratulations to these excellent playwrights and translators!
See CBC.ca for the full shortlist. Winners will be announced on November 18, 2014.
Free up your Thursday (October 9) to attend this double book launch in Vancouver! Mohawk spoken-word artist Janet Rogers will launch her latest collection of poetry, Peace in Duress, and Chris Bose launches A Moon Made of Copper.
Come out to the grunt gallery (116–350 East 2nd Ave, Vancouver, BC) at 7 p.m. to hear a spoken-word performance by Rogers and a reading by Bose. (Get into Rogers’s poetry by listening to some poems from the book on Meta-Talon.) Both books will be available for purchase, and the authors will sign copies. All are welcome at this launch!
Also see the grunt Gallery’s media release.
Abel constructed the source text of Un/inhabited by compiling 91 complete western novels found on the website Project Gutenberg, an online archive of public domain works. He then searched the document in its totality for words that relate to the political and social aspects of land, territory, and ownership. Each search query represents a study in context (How was this word deployed? What surrounded it? What is left over once that word is removed?) that accumulates toward a representation of the public domain as a discoverable and inhabitable body of land. Featuring a text by independent curator Kathleen Ritter – the first piece of scholarship on Abel’s work – Un/inhabited reminds us of the power of language as material and invites us to reflect on what is present when we see nothing.
Un/inhabited is a co-publication of Project Space Press and Talonbooks. A limited number of first editions will be available from Abel at his performance, Q&A session, and book signing on Sunday, October 5, 2014 (see the Vancouver Art Book Fair website for event details) and from Project Space Press. The trade paperback edition will be available from Talonbooks in early 2015 as part of Talon’s Spring 2015 season.
Read an interview with Garry Thomas Morse, which was conducted by Lee Gulyas and her class at Western Washington University in October, 2014 while studying his book Discovery Passages.Monday October 20, 2014 in Meta-Talon
Being Talon’s resident master of the eerie and the unsettling, it seems fitting to highlight Larry Tremblay’s especially freaky fiction in the month of All Hallows. On Meta-Talon today, we gather his recent works of fiction, The Obese Christ, Piercing, and The Bicycle Eater. Best part? This trifecta of books is on sale until the end of the month!Tuesday October 14, 2014 in Meta-Talon
Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, 1840 (age 25)
Did you know the world’s first computer programmer was a woman? Ada Lovelace was enthralled by mathematics as a young woman, and she is also known for her lineage, being the only (legitimate) child of Romantic poet Lord Byron. Lovelace wrote in the 1840s what are now recognized as the first computational algorithms, and she wrote prescient commentary on the future of computing.
By complete coincidence, Talon has recently published no fewer than three titles that make mention of Lovelace. Today on Meta-Talon we share excerpts from these titles, in honour of Ada Lovelace Day (October 14, 2014).Tuesday September 30, 2014 in Meta-Talon
St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators
Every September 30th, readers, writers, and publishers mark International Translation Day by honouring the translators who help bring great literature of all kinds to new audiences. At Talonbooks, we are particularly privileged to work with many of Canada’s most pre-eminent literary translators. On this day, we say thank you and submit a few intriguing passages on the art of translation.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.
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