news | Friday May 5, 2017
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Expo 67. Between April 27 and October 29, 1967, the world’s fair saw 50 million visitors flow through – vast numbers of them first-time tourists in Canada during its centenary year. The expo holds a special place in Canada’s national memory; read the acknowledgements of the anniversary published over the past week in the Globe & Mail, National Post, CBC Radio, CBC News, the Toronto Star, and of course the Montreal Gazette.
Michel Tremblay – Quebec’s beloved novelist and playwright, whose works emerged during and hailed the vanguard of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution – has immortalized the period in a lesser-known but absolutely charming trilogy of novels. The Black Notebook, The Red Notebook, and The Blue Notebook take place in Montreal just before, during, and after Expo 67. The novels follow Céline Poulin, a young waitress who keeps journals of the frankly unexpected turns her little life takes, as she befriends an emerging theatrical and cultural community, quits her day job to become the hostess at a bordello specializing in transvestites, and then experiences a love affair for the first time (after believing that she, a midget, would never experience passion). Tremblay, as ever, makes subcultures and lost zeitgeists feel familiar and present, and his use of Expo as a backdrop captures the clime of the time.
Talonbooks is also in the process of producing ebook versions of these three delightful novels, and has designed new covers to grace the ebooks. (In its March issue, Quill and Quire featured these new covers.) The Black Notebook and The Red Notebook ebooks have already been published and are available from many ebook retailers online.
Being the 50th anniversary of both Expo 67 and Talonbooks, 2017 is the perfect year to read this delightful series! In honour of the anniversary, Tremblay’s Notebook series is on sale until October. Get all three novels for just $25!