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Wednesday June 24, 2015 in Books
Raise the windsock. Read the compass. Ride where the wind wills it.
Late 2010. From the end of fall to the beginning of winter, Daniel Canty becomes a wind seeker. Aboard the Blue Rider, a venerable midnight-blue Ford Ranger crested with a weathervane and a retractable windsock, he surrenders himself to the fluidity of air currents. The adventure leads him and artist driver Patrick Beaulieu from the plains of the Midwest up to Chicago, the Windy City, into the wind tunnel linking the Great Lakes, through the cities of lost industry of the Rust Belt, only to veer off into Amish pastoralia, and to the forests of Pennsylvania, Civil War land, where fracking is stirring up the ghosts of the first oil rush.
Canty creates a gentle road book, a melancholy blue guide written in an airy, associative prose, where images coalesce and dissipate, carried away through the outer and inner American landscape. The book, mixing the tropes of road narrative, poetic fabulation, and philosophical memoir, reaches towards images on the horizon of memory, to find out where they come from, while coming to the foreordained realization that, wherever memory may lead us, its images will be long gone when we get there and most probably were never even there at all. The book’s through-line is about this emotional reality of images, the ways in which they take hold upon us and carry us back to the deep narrative of self. Clocking in at 160 pages, most readers don’t realize that the adventure spans only ten days, and that The United States of Wind is, in a very real way, a journey through a fold in time.
Read the book’s opening passages in “Prologue to the Wind” on Meta-Talon.
ISBN 13: 9780889229426 | ISBN 10: 0889229430
5 W x 8.5 H inches | 192 pp pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Backlist | Non-Fiction
QUOTES OF NOTE
“We accompany [Canty] on a wind-blown odyssey through the American mid-west … The United States of Wind presents Canty’s take on this elemental adventure, and a sense of his poetic perspective can be gained from [reading even the book’s subheadings] and from his vow – a kind of secular consecration – on the eve of their departure: ‘Trust the wind. Only it. Like we trust ourselves.’ ”
“There’s a romantic quality … Canty’s travelogue becomes that transfixed contemplation, a way of tracking the wind’s phantasmagorical landscape: a kind of narco-imaginary … Written under the influence of the weathervane’s pointer, it is not at all surprising that there is such an expansive and sprawling character to Canty’s prose. It is not that his sentences are long, but it’s the way they move with the compression of a poem. There’s a cumulative aspect to the writing as the narrative picks up—not speed … but narrative mileage. The process (and progress) is contagious.”
– Geneviève Robichaud, The Town Crier
“I read this book as an essay, a method of thought. Canty doesn’t propose as much a theory of wind as a map of reflections on what emptiness holds, on what the imperceptible space between us occupies … The true object of this book’s love, or quest, is not a weather phenomenon, but rather something more akin to the American soul.”
– Valérie Lefbvre-Faucher, Revue Liberté
“Wind art? Almost. It’s certainly a sensitive and intuitive documentation of a journey determined by air currents.”
— Catherine Lalonde, Le Devoir
“Canty not only tells the story, but has a keen sense of observation: the similitudes between the cities visited, the people encountered at rest areas looking for places to stay or to eat, the ubiquity of sports and of televisions. Observation is never far from commentary, yet Canty’s total absence of prejudice against our southern neighbours allows for a tone of curiosity and intelligence which this narrative needed.”
—Élizabeth Lord, Les Méconnus
About the ContributorsDaniel Canty
Daniel Canty is a Montreal-based writer and film director who works in literature, film, theatre and design, and new media. Canty collaborated with the pioneering multimedia studio DNA Media, in Vancouver, and directed the inaugural issues of Horizon Zero, the Banff New Media Institute’s web space on the digital arts in Canada.Oana Avasilichioaei
Oana Avasilichioaei is a poet, translator, and editor whose poetry collections include We, Beasts (winner of the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry) and feria: a poempark. She has translated the work of Romanian poet Nichita Stanescu and Quebecois writer Louise Cotnoir.
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.