I, BartlebyFront Cover
  • View Cart
  • .
  • $14.95

    ISBN: 9780889229181 | Paperback

    128 pages | Pub. Date: 20150427
    5 W × 8.5 H × .75 D inches
    Backlist | Fiction | Bisac: FIC019000
    Rights: WORLD


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? The thinker or the alphabet? The calligrapher or the pictograms hidden in her Chinese written characters?

Intimate jealousies between writers, wagers of courage and ambition, and histories of the colours violet and yellow are some of the subjects in the first section, “Caravan.” Struggles of mothers, fathers, and sisters (and the figures drawn in the Chinese written characters that represent them) unfold as tales of love, death, and revenge in the group of stories in the second section, “Orientalisme.” In “Scriptorium,” the third section, we find out how Bartleby’s father, a Caucasian cook specializing in Chinese cuisine, got Bartleby into writing in the first place. In the fourth series of stories, “How to Write,” we learn how Bartleby loses her I while meeting Allen Ginsberg, Alice Toklas, and a real Chinese cook who works in a fictional house of Ethel Wilson, and how Malcolm Lowry’s life came to an end. The fifth and last section, “Moccasin Box,” investigates how a Sebaldesque Bartleby is silenced by Pauline Johnson.

Taking its cue from genre-bending writers like Robert Walser and Enrique Vila-Matas, I, Bartleby cunningly challenges boundaries between fiction and reality.

“In I, Bartleby, Meredith Quartermain chips away the deadwood of dry syntax exposing the raw and revealing the new. Each line is a branching event budding fresh images and ideas. An exciting read.”
– Grant Buday

“...Meredith Quartermain’s dexterity in channelling lives and landscapes to explore the symptoms of our post-millennial malaise that make I, Bartleby both wickedly smart and fun to read.”
Malahat Review

“…can be a highly rewarding experience, as Quartermain’s achievement becomes more distinctly visible.”
– Full Stop

I, Bartleby is Meredith Quartermain’s gift to the careful reader who lives to be awestruck.”
– Wayde Compton

“With rich and quirky metaphors evoked by passing encounters, with her proud gendered sensibility while facing culture, with vivid details of the real and the imagined looping excitingly together – Quartermain has created a writerly book of great panache.”
– Rachel Blau DuPlessis

By Meredith Quartermain

Meredith Quartermain is celebrated across Canada for her depictions of places and their historical hauntings. Vancouver Walking (NeWest, 2005) won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Nightmarker (NeWest, 2008) was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, and Recipes from the Red Planet (BookThug, 2010), her book of flash fiction, was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.

Read more about Meredith Quartermain

Access Onix Code

OtherText Code 08:

news | 2016-01-05
Best of 2015

…agree more. He also picks Meredith Quartermain’s I, Bartleby: “These are stories, but not really ‘short …

news | 2015-05-20
Book Review: Quartermain’s blend of poetry and fiction

…Meredith Quartermain’s new book I, Bartleby has just been reviewed by Daniel Green for Full … the Canadian Meredith Quartermain, whose new book I, Bartleby is labeled ‘short stories’ on its cover but … called short stories in any conventional sense. … I, Bartleby is the kind of book some readers undoubtedly … achievement becomes more distinctly visible. I, Bartleby is available for $15. …

news | 2015-05-01
Authors for Indies Day! Tomorrow (Saturday, May 2)

…Quartermain will read from her latest book, I, Bartleby, at the UBC Bookstore – see this tweet – on the …

news | 2015-04-24
We Have Liftoff! (Photos from Talon’s Spring 2015 Poetry Launch in Vancouver)

…her ode to earthworms, found on pages 13–4 of I, Bartleby ($14.95). Her next, more solemn piece honoured … at Pyatt Hall Meredith Quartermain reads from I, Bartleby The finale of the evening was a simple, elegant …

news | 2015-03-23
I, Bartleby, Am Here

…hidden in her Chinese written characters? I, Bartleby is now available for $14.95. Listen to the author …

news | 2015-02-04
Q&Q Shouts Out to Meredith Quartermain and Jordan Abel

…forthcoming collection of poetic short stories, I, Bartleby , and Jordan Abel’s Un/inhabited . Pauline … Daphne Marlatt, and, of course, Melville haunt I, Bartleby (Talonbooks), the new collection of stories from … is available now for $24.95. Watch for I, Bartleby in April. See Q&Q’s other spring previews …

news | 2015-01-21
Announcement: New Books for Spring 2015!

…Meredith Quartermain. Many of the characters in I, Bartleby are writers and thinkers, and these short stories …