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Drawing from the history of Quebec and Irish legend, this exquisitely exotic novel explores the snares of individual and collective memory as they are used to justify and preserve ancestral grudges.
A Crossing of Hearts continues Michel Tremblay’s Desrosiers Diaspora series of novels, a family saga set in Montreal during World War I. This third novel bursts with life as Nana, the young city girl, explores the natural world – and the enchanted forest of her inner, maturing self. The novel also further develops the character of Maria so that we understand her motivations more fully, and at the same time recognize nods to the history of Quebec and the dynamics of the family under the strictures of the Catholic church.
A Matter of Gravity is about the forces that draw two men together. Hermann, an embalmer and doctor’s son, devotes himself to the dead to mask his disappointment that, unlike his father, he cannot cure the living. Hu is an ailing concert pianist who dwells in memories of past glory. By the end of the final, transformative meeting between Hermann and Hu, Vachon gently broaches the question that paralyzes each man and the people whom they love: When faced with terminal illness, how do we embrace the unsatisfactory life we leave behind?
At forty-one, Eddy is in existential crisis. While once he had an enviable life, now he’s separated from his wife, estranged from his son, and his garden’s grown wild—like the rest of his life. Written in multiple voices, with keen psychological insight, Bourguignon’s examination of relationships, past wounds and present possibilities is ﬁlled with raucous warmth and humanity—and dark humour.
A coda to his great Chronicles of the Plateau Mont-Royal cycle of novels. Tremblay creates, with grace and tenderness, a ﬁctionalized account of the death of his own mother.
In spare, lucid prose, and in a style reminiscent of André Gide, Madeleine Gagnon invites the reader to experience the creation and development of an artist “in his own words” – Joseph’s gelid journal entries that are to become emphatic poetic laments – in a novel that chronicles the extreme destitution of Quebec in the years before World War Two and in abstract developing forms of artistic expression after years of uncertainty and loss.
Haunted by the iron jealousy of their commanding ofﬁcer, Dulac and Nell must risk everything to pursue their desires.
Taking the theme of postmodernity one step further with 23 short stories edited by Canada’s ﬁrst poet laureate: Alexis, Arnason, Atwood, Blaise, Bowering, Burnham, Cohen, Dorsey, Elliot, Farrant, Fawcett, Findley, Goto, Fraser, King, Laferrière, Mayr, Rooke, Schoemperlen, Thomas, Verdecchia and Watson.
Bowering’s life in love and the game unfolds in a picaresque memoir of a road trip taken through the storied ballparks of the poet’s youthful dreams.
From one of the most exciting novelists writing in France today comes Birth of a Bridge – the story of a handful of men and women of various backgrounds and classes, who assemble around the construction of a giant suspension bridge in Coca, a fictional city somewhere in a mythical and fantastic California.
Investigative fictions that examine the intentions of the information revolution.
A collection of stories that form tough, uncompromising portraits of people discovering the illusions they live by.
A collection of short stories from the point of view of a young man growing up in Kenya during the time of Mau Mau.
Short stories about people travelling, wandering, or lost between countries and languages—people caught between the impulse to ﬂee and the desire to belong.
The story continues … The second in Michel Tremblay’s new series of novels presents two very different lives. 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, Théo, while Maria works. Crossing the City continues the Desrosiers Diaspora novel series.
It is 1913, at a time of industry and adventure, when crossing the continent was an enterprise undertaken by so many, young and old, from myriads of cultures, unimpeded by the abstractly constructed borders and identities that have so fractured our world of today.
A brilliant collection of satirical short stories.
A novel of Pauline Archange’s desire to translate the events of her life into words.
Since the debut of Garry Thomas Morse’s first collection deemed “experimental fiction,” Death in Vancouver has drawn fervid enthusiasm from many West Coast writers and artists. Set in Vancouver, B.C., this gathering of stories superimposes aspects of literary classics on local urban space to express increasing dissonance and alienation in the groaning “necropolis” that is the contemporary global city.
A solitary woman’s interior journey of self-discovery.
By Jane Rule
Two women meet and fall in love in Reno, Nevada. Set in the late 1950s, this classic of lesbian eroticism is Jane Rule’s first novel.
Stylish and slightly off-beat stories that involve the lives of a wide variety of people.
Down the Road to Eternity: New & Selected Fiction is a collection of M.A.C. Farrant’s work dating from 1985 to 2009. Satiric and philosophical in approach, indelibly marked by wit, humour, irony, playfulness, a blend of parody and science ﬁction, irreverent analysis and comic existentialism, these stories celebrate the literary imagination as an antidote to the stranglehold of popular media on the public’s imagination. This collection includes Farrant’s complete new suite of eighteen stories, The North Pole.
A compulsively readable, beautiful and dark novel of stormy relationships and all-consuming desires.
By degrees dramatic, shocking, tender, afﬁrmative and tragic, each of these stories takes on a different cliché of inter-racial and inter-cultural relations, all of them suffused with the incomparable wit, generous humour, critical edge and profound emotional empathy of a master story-teller.
By David Homel
In this startlingly original and penetrating novel, the Messiah appears as a woman who shows up in rural America instead of Jerusalem, preaching moral license, not repentance.
A hauntingly beautiful tale of a Montreal couple alienated from each other after suffering the miscarriage of twins.
In a parody of a thriller novel, Harry the Hack, newly recruited literary spy, follows a mystery woman seeking wisdom and sanity.
In these haunting, often chilling short stories, Daurio maps the sub-atomic space of contemporary alienation.
By bill bissett
Written in his non-hierarchic, phonetic orthography, bill bissett’s second novel-poem, hungree throat, recounts the relationship of two men – one bold and unafraid, the other burdened by terrible memories and unable to trust. In this uplifting “novel in meditaysyun” about love, in which we witness ten years of a shared life, we are reminded of the overlapping, sometimes conﬂicting multitude of “hungers” common to us all.
In these quirkily imaginative short stories about writing and writers, the scrivener Quartermain (our “Bartleby”) goes her stubborn way haunted by Pauline Johnson, Malcolm Lowry, Robin Blaser, Daphne Marlatt, and a host of other literary forebears. Who is writing whom, these stories ask in their musing reflections – the writer or the written?
In this atmospheric, post–Cormac McCarthy western novel, four disparate characters criss-cross the desert in pursuit of an impossible ideal. Along the way, these wily characters captivate and intrigue as they seek the American dream in a lawless town in the 1860s.
By George Ryga
Set in the desert at the Mexico-U.S.A. border, this novel deals with the hope and despair of immigrant labourers.
In this coming-of-age novel, Lise Tremblay paints a picture of rural Quebec in the years following the Quiet Revolution in her signature style so refreshingly free of artifice and literary hyperbole.
In Patrice Martin’s ticklish tip of the hat to the writing of Franz Kafka, we follow the misadventures of a bureaucrat – aptly named “P.” (pun intended) – as he embarks on the illustrious task of collecting the titular headgear. “P.” expects that the accomplishment of this seemingly simple task will grant him both a professional and a personal promotion. But Martin’s eager protagonist has overlooked the systematic diﬃculty in modern bureaucracies – as well as in some of twentieth-century’s best
ﬁction – of getting things done.
A brilliant and intense journey through a relationship, and through language and myth—as well as a literary journey spanning three continents.
Coming Spring 2017
In Michael Blouin’s Legend, narrative as we know it is torn apart only to be reconstructed piece by piece as the pages progress. Blouin weaves a history of Canadian modern art, Hollywood B movies, and RCMP police procedure in this genre-defying novel that is at once sensual and mindbending.
Drawing from the lives of celebrities and stories from his personal life, Blouin creates parallel worlds featuring fictive characters who dwell in the artifice of successful stories, as well as the people who inhabit these roles, such as Clint Eastwood in The Eiger Sanction (1975) and the dead body in the Maysles brothers’ film Salesman (1969).
Blouin bends every storytelling trope with documentary techniques to include biographical tidbits and primary sources that lay claim to the conviction that imagination is no less real than so-called reality itself. In so doing, he creates an artistic trajectory of influence and collaboration, revealing a deeply personal relationship to his hometown.
Legend unravels the creative process and the construction of narrative itself without the burden of excessive meta-thinking. Blouin guides us through the lives he has known and encountered, including his own, to show us how we come to perceive the roles we play, the plot twists we grant our own lives, and just how much our communities – real and imagined – can shape us.
The ﬁrst volume of Jovette Marchessault’s autobiographical trilogy.
By Gail Scott
The portrait of a woman who is facing the end of the century and creating a history of the present that lifts her out of fear.
As these men penetrate deep into the exotic Orient, each falls victim to his own secret vice. One treks through Ethiopia in search of wingless locusts. Another hunts for fly-whisks among the clove plantations of Zanzibar. Yet others bargain for saffron in a Srinagar bazaar, search for the rarest frankincense and pursue the coveted hawksbill turtle in the Sea of Oman. Two more seek the formula for sabon Nablus in Palestine or haggle over Persian carpets in the royal gardens of Shiraz. The men’s individual forms of punishment, revealed through the agency of the young woman, are wrought upon their bodies.
Mend the Living is the story of a heart transplant, centred around Simon Limbeau, the boy whose heart is given, and his family. Taking place within exactly twenty-four hours, the novel traces the thrill of an early-morning winter surf session, the terrible accident that follows, and all the urgency and compassion of the hospital workers, and shock and grief of Simon’s family as they negotiate the question of organ donation. Weaving from hospital corridors to the wild waves of the Atlantic, from the narrow streets of Paris to the countryside in Algeria where goldfinches still sing, from the most intimate details of grief within a car in Le Havre to universal considerations of science, compassion, and humanity, Mend the Living is a powerful and vast-ranging book.
Mile End is a chilling and masterful look at the interior landscapes of psychosis which mirror so perfectly the emptiness of the exterior surfaces they reﬂect.
An authentic re-creation of an extraordinary life set against the turbulent backdrop of colonial Africa.
In tribute to surrealist narrative and film technique, Minor Episodes documents the serial adventures of Minor, ubiquitous “everymogul” who embodies the economic 1% and keeps musically erotic quixotics on tap. Major Ruckus follows a struggle for a time travel component involving psychic “dicks,” universal call-center operators, aboriginal eroticists, lubricant heiresses, rogue advertisements, pornography censors, and alien sperm-bank clones.
In this prequel within a sequel, Diminuenda discovers that she stands to win a vast inheritance from her estranged father, the inimitable Minor, if she travels into the past and “collects” a number of objets d’art. Minor Expectations resumes The Chaos! Quincunx novel series.
To escape the boredom that history seems to have decreed shall be re-enacted endlessly by all grown-ups, teenagers Miles and Chateaugué enter into a suicide pact to preserve their childhood freedom and purity from the debasement of the adult roles pre-ordained for them. But will their “plans” work out?
The second volume of Marchessault’s turbulent autobiographical trilogy.
A frank and intensely personal book about human relationships.
Audrey Thomas’ first novel—a woman from the inside. Of the writing of this novel Thomas has said, “Women are at last beginning to talk about their bodies, not only among themselves, but also in print. When I began writing Mrs. Blood… this was not the case.
Fawcett’s ﬁrst book of stories examines growing up, and living, under the rules.
A young woman embarks upon an emotionally resonant journey in search of a peaceful new life.
This fourth novel in the Chronicles of the Plateau Mont-Royal follows Édouard, the fat woman’s brother-in-law, as he explores Paris.
By bill bissett
Famous and celebrated since the 1960s for pushing the boundaries of language and representation in the creation of image as a site of both content and context, the world’s leading sound, visual, concrete and performance poet, bill bissett, describes this book as “a novel with connekting pomes n essays.”
By Sadru Jetha
In this collection of beautifully crafted, spare, concise and refreshingly understated stories, we accompany Nuri on his quest to understand how servitude transcends slavery; fealty transcends servitude; and community transcends fealty. Amid a sea of dystopian world literatures haunted by the fractious claims of identity politics, Nuri Does Not Exist is an astonishingly charming collection of linked short stories that engages us with the utterly believable innocence of its Utopian vision.
Three tales spin a web of suspense, impending violence, and tragedy that haunt the sleek façade of a city. In “The Axe” a teacher of literature in drunken despair awakens and confronts one of his students with the term assignment he has submitted—an axe. In “Piercing” a teenage runaway seeks to escape the mediocrity of her small-town family life, only to end up in a very different kind of urban “family,” a cult of dominance and body piercing presided over by the maimed and orphaned son of a millionaire. In “Anna on the letter C” a lonely, virginal typist transcribing the “c” words for a dictionary project, takes pity on a middle-aged stalker and invites him to her apartment for tea and nasty surprises.
Short stories about mothers and the politics of the family.
In Rogue Cells, Oober Mann emerges from his cryobed on high alert in New Haudenosaunee, a nation at war with the mysterious territory Nutella during a critical election year. And it is the Age of Aquarium in the speculative “green” dystopia of Carbon Harbour, in which omni-magnate Cornelius Quartz is overseeing the merger between Bildung Endustries and Foreign Objects. Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour resumes The Chaos! Quincunx novel series.
When the electricity inexplicably goes out nationwide, the mundanities of life gradually shift to the rigours of survival. In this post-apocalyptic setting, an unnamed mechanic jumps into his beat-up car and drives east, journeying 4,736 kilometres to reach his dying father. As the road grows longer, and the narrator’s exhaustion grows in kind, parallels are drawn between his own journey through this labyrinth and Theseus’s journey through the primeval Labyrinth. However, the beast that our narrator seeks to slay might not be one of flesh and horn and blood, but instead of his own failing mental state, of his thirst for this apocalypse around him.
The rush of events in a small town apocalypse is recorded barely at the edge of syntax, with a participatory narrator scrambling to keep up with the unfolding perceptions within the others.
By Mary Burns
These stories all re-examine the myths of mother-daughter relationships, both in the classical sense of “myth” and in the modern sense of “myth” (lies about relationships).
This urban epic of love and desire brings us a burlesque world of transgression and madness, where pleasures are far from simple, and love is somewhat less than pure. An evocative account of romantic adventure stamped with Tremblay’s signature wit and ironic humour.
Republished with a new introduction, this is Audrey Thomas’s classic coming-of-age novel about madness, loneliness, despair and escape.
By George Ryga
Summerland presents largely unpublished selections from essays, short stories, plays, novels and poems that George Ryga wrote in Summerland, BC, from 1963 until his untimely death in 1987.
By Jack Winter
Tales of the Emperor is based on the life of Qin Shi Huang (circa 260–210 BCE), the “First Emperor” – he who unified China, gave it his name, built the Great Wall, entombed an army of terra cotta soldiers, authored legalism, erased history, insinuated governance, and established paranoia as a national characteristic. There’s only one principal theme: you find the antiquity you look for, or, in the language of the book: “history is the study of the paintings of great events.”
A sweeping historical novel about the collision of Native and colonial cultures.
In this second Plateau Mont-Royal novel, three schoolgirls live the mysteries of their rites of passage.
Eight lesbian women strive to achieve an all-female utopia within which homophobia and their own pasts and differences are abolished.
By George Ryga
From his farm boy childhood to his struggles as a class-conscious wage labourer. Ryga’s early work is offered in a collection of essays, short stories, plays and novels.
Set in the post-apocalyptic future, this is a novel of fragments that represents contemporary prose at its most daring and experimental.
Singularly obsessed with Anna, the object of his adolescent desire, photographer Christophe Langelier embarks on an extraordinary journey—which takes him from the streets of Montreal to the Island of Women off the coast of Mexico—to escape the all-consuming ﬂames of his unrequited passion. The Bicycle Eater is a comic, surrealist novel of metamorphosis unleashed by hopeless desire, a riotous, colourful burlesque where nothing and no one remain what they seem.
A young waitress recounts her trials and surprising allies in a lifelong battle against social stigma.
In this third installment of Tremblay’s Notebook trilogy, Fine Dumas’ notorious transvestite Boudoir is shut down and Céline must return to waitressing at the Sélect. Then a newcomer appears, the gorgeous Gilbert Forget, a musician who is not insensitive to her charms. Céline, a midget who until now has always felt unworthy, throws herself into a passionate affair, discovering the body’s thrills for the first time. As she has done twice before, Céline records the adventures of her life into a notebook, but now she steps outside of herself, using a narrator to tell her story. Will her tempestuous relationship with Gilbert endure?
Farrant continues her assault on the unaccountably disaffected and disillusioned of the Western world with her eighth volume of extremely short stories.
Witty and formally innovative stories that examine social, political and sexual assumptions with an ironic eye.
Let yourself be excited and delighted. Farrant’s artfully spare stories – averaging a couple of paragraphs each – offer enough food for thought (and mood) to keep you going for months. Dip in occasionally to be reminded of the strangeness of us, or read from beginning to end and immerse yourself in a slightly skewed version of reality – one in which people are frank and the world is unforgiving as it shimmers like light on water, sometimes blinding, always dazzling.
This third volume in the Chronicles of the Plateau Mont- Royal —an epic series of novels which imagines the lives of the characters of Tremblay’s plays—deals with an explicitly gay thematic: Tremblay’s metaphor for the Québécois desire for a more glamorous identity on the world stage.
Tremblay’s ﬁrst novel is an affectionate and funny chronicle of the lives of a family in its community.
The ﬁfth novel in the Chronicles of the Plateau Mont-Royal juxtaposes the childhood experiences of the fat woman’s son and his gifted cousin.
August 1933: after weeks of tension, on a sweltering night at Christie Pitts field, four youths unfurl a white sheet emblazoned with a large black Swastika, lift their arms and shout, “Heil Hitler!” during a softball game. Within seconds, a group of Jewish youths charge in a struggle to capture the flag, setting off the largest race riot ever to occur in Toronto, involving fifteen thousand people and injuring hundreds.
Tulchinsky takes us inside the life of one immigrant Jewish family, from this pivotal moment, through the war years and into the early 1950s, creating a stunning fictional statement of a defining moment for a family, a city, and a continent struggling with ideas of freedom, tolerance, and identity in a world broken by war.
A hilarious yet compassionate look at the new male consciousness taking shape in a “post-feminist” world by a witty, articulate raconteur.
A fusty academic has fallen in love with a young actor who works as a salesman while waiting for his big break; however, the academic must learn to make room in his life for the actor’s four-year-old son.
Remarkably engaging stories recounted by different residents of a northern Canadian village facing a gradual but devastating transformation.
As a way to draw visitors to their isolated fishing village on Quebec’s North Shore, the tourist bureau commissions a documentary film recreating life as it was lived there in the 1940s and 50s. To gather material for the project, the filmmaker is sent in search of Rose Brouillard, now an old woman but raised on an island just offshore by Onile, a local fisherman. Rose is finally tracked down in Montreal, where she lives a solitary life fogged by one of the inevitabilities of old age – failing memory.
“Dorothea” (the name Rose gives the young filmmaker), takes her back to scenes from her childhood and invites her to tell her story as they go, and so we return to a past assembled from Rose’s fragmented recollections.
Structured as a series of short cinematic “takes,” this novel about recovering both personal and shared histories is told in a polyphony of voices, including Rose herself (as a child, an adolescent, and in her old age), the sexton of the village church, his three female cousins, an elderly neighbour, a villager who passes time on the harbour wall, and Rose’s long-deceased mother. We see fishermen on the docks with their nets, hard-at-work villagers with shirtsleeves rolled up to the elbow, leafy gardens, and tree-lined streets, all recreated during Rose’s reminiscences. The problem is that many of these scenes are invented, not real. Does that matter? Or are the stories we tell more important?
Read an excerpt from The Keeper’s Daughter.
Devastated by grief and loneliness, Edgar, an asocial thirty-seven-year-old, kneels in the cemetery where his recently deceased mother is buried. Turning away from her graveside for a moment, Edgar witnesses a terrifying and life-altering event: through the mist that sweeps overhead like the ghostly skirts of mothers passed, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse brutally rape a young woman, leaving her for dead. Acting out of muddled instinct (and ingrained Catholic conviction), Edgar bears the unconscious victim home in the trunk of his mother’s sedan. Disgusted yet moved by the woman’s appearance, Edgar solemnly pledges to act as her saviour.
Written in the tradition of Umberto Eco and Manuel Puig, The Pagan Wall is a first novel by one of Canada’s master storytellers.
An extraordinary novel about art and passion inspired by the lives of two great artists, Evelyn Rowat and René Marcil.
Ten years in the making, these stories display Bowering’s meticulous attention to the details of his craft.
The second in the Notebook trilogy follows Céline Poulin as she becomes hostess in a transvestite bordello. Tremblay celebrates how it is possible for Céline to embrace her difference and to ﬂourish in solidarity with a community of others with transcendent eloquence and compassion.
A novel about mountains by one of Canada’s greatest writers on nature, depicting the “presence” in mountains and the heart’s desire to go beyond mountains.
An industrial biography that investigates personal myths and the great “machines” that drive the world to the abyss of development.
This tell-all book by M.A.C. Farrant is a three-part novel-length work of prose fragments, snippets, questions, speculations and meditations, by turns philosophical, dark, comedic and lyrical, it attempts to imagine a multitude of possible futures for our garrisoned world.
By Mary Meigs
An affair born of a correspondence with a distant admirer leads the lovers to an arranged meeting in Australia.
In The World Afloat, a collection of seventy-five irreverent and humorous “miniature” stories, M.A.C. Farrant coaxes her readers from their well-worn, earthbound narratives and into a world afloat on satire, absurdity, and, in her most brilliant moments, expansive joy.
By Jane Rule
Jane Rule’s ﬁrst collection of short stories.
This collection of O’Hagan’s short fiction includes stories spanning the decades of his experience as mountain guide, gentleman adventurer and storyteller.
In this contemplative novel-poem, Jean-François Beauchemin invites us to share in the inner world of the grieving Mr. Bartolomé, who, following the mysterious disappearance of his young son, wanders and wonders, seeking to transcend his pain by encountering something larger than himself. Continuously occupied by the memory of his lost son, Bartolomé’s quest leads him from the city to the countryside and then to the edge of the ocean, where he marvels at the beauty of nature but cannot penetrate its mysteries.
Award-winning author Meredith Quartermain’s second novel and seventh book, U Girl, is a coming-of-age story set in Vancouver in 1972, a city crossed between love-in hip and forest-corp square.
Volume three of her autobiographical trilogy: a reconciliation between women and men, children and parents, animals and humans.
By Daniel Canty
It’s October 1944. During a brief respite from the aerial bombardment of London, Sebastian Wigrum absconds from his small flat and disappears into the fog for a walk in the Unreal City. This is our first and only encounter with the enigmatic man we come to discover decades later through more than one hundred everyday objects he has left behind. Wigrum’s bequest is a meticulously catalogued collection of the profoundly ordinary: a camera, some loose teeth, candies and keys, soap, bits of string, hazelnuts, and a handkerchief. Moving through the inventory artifact to artifact, story to story, we become immersed in a dreamlike narrative bricolage determined as much by the objects’ museological presentation as by the tender and idiosyncratic mania of Wigrum’s impulse to collect them.
Critically acclaimed poet and Vancouver native Adeena Karasick was in her hometown last month to celebrate the donation of her archive to Simon Fraser University. The Collection of Contemporary Literature at SFU’s Bennett Library contains one of the biggest selections of avant-garde poetry in North America.Friday March 17, 2017 in Meta-Talon
All the main characters in this novel are invented, except one. All the towns are real, except for New Babylon. But if such a place were to be imagined, it would be a Wild West town where gunfights are fair play and the law bans only the lawman. It is a perilous place, where the beauty of the desert landscape takes your breath away with the same power as an open blade and a gash to the throat.
On that gruesome note, we hope you enjoy this teaser, lifted from pages 36–38 of In Search of New Babylon.Thursday March 2, 2017 in Meta-Talon
Today on Meta-Talon, please enjoy a very short story from M.A.C. Farrant’s book The Days: Forecasts, Warnings, Advice.
Annual Day happens once a year and it is never good. This year the date is March 2.Thursday February 23, 2017 in Meta-Talon
Migration – the movement of humans from one place to another with the intention of settling – has been top of mind in recent weeks given certain political changes and policy implementations in certain western countries, in recent months in response to the failure of state in Syria and the outflow of refugees from that region, and in recent years characterized by a heightened sensitivity to the possibility of east-west terrorist attacks. Perhaps Canada is a beacon to other states? Or perhaps we still have much learning to do? In the spirit of learning, we recommend twelve Talon books on the topic of migration, refugees, and the immigrant experience.
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