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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

New in stock: The Silent History by Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffett

We're super excited to have just received the print edition of The Silent History, a serialized, collaborative novel that was initially released as an app for iPads and iPhones last year. In its original form, it also incorporated hundreds of location-based stories that could only be accessed when your GPS coordinates matched those of the story.

Okay, you're saying, but what's the story about, right? And does it work as an old-fashioned 500-page novel on pulp-based paper? The answer to the second question is a resounding YES! As for the first question, well, the premise is both high-concept and brilliantly simple, recalling the likes of John Wyndham, Stephen King, JG Ballard, and especially P.D. James' Children of Men: a generation of children are born without speech, and in fact without any understanding of language whatsoever. First in isolated cases, but quickly recognized as an epidemic, they become known as "Silents", and as they grow up, they communicate only with each other through an intense form of face recognition.

Since Silents cannot speak or use language, the story is told through a myriad of testimonials (all roughly 1,500 words) by various older observers, from concerned parents to politicians, businessmen, scientists and inventors who all see various kinds of threat or opportunity in the Silents' quiet presence.

The conceit of the digital version of the story is that these testimonials were solicited from the app's reader-participants, who collaborated in authoring the story as they added to the texts produced by Horowitz, Moffet, and Derby. However, as the UK's Independent newspaper observed: "Stripped of its videos, interactive gee-gaws and bonus material, the plot more than stands on its own, driven by classic narrative virtues: chases, hints of the supernatural, and bits of the dystopian thriller, intellect mystery and cosmic jigsaw puzzle. The finale asks the biggest questions of all, suggesting that here is a novel at once fun, clever and humane with the scope to outlast its hipper-than-thou origins." 

Indeed, it's clear that the novel's theme of wordlessness and its dispersed character address the very anxieties that a collaborative, app-based novel elicits: for example, can literature or literariness survive massive, generational sea changes in the nature of communication? If The Silent History is any indication, our prospects are pretty good.
Monday, 21 July 2014

Spectacular Optical Book One: Kid Power!

We're delighted to have the latest project from Kier-La Janisse, author of the perennial store favourite, House of Psychotic Women (and co-founder of Montreal's sorely-missed Blue Sunshine cinema). Kid Power promises to be a true delight for anyone who appreciates the weirder side of kids' cinema and television, with lovingly-researched essays on the history of ABC's after-school specials and interviews with the brains behind 70s and 80s classics like The Peanut Butter Solution and Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang (the 1978 version, not the more recent TV series).

Kid Power is also the debut in Spectacular Optical's line of small-run, themed anthologies focused on cult film, pop culture, and emphasizing the work of Canadian genre writers. The contributing roster for this volume includes present-day Canadian weirdo undergrounders like Kier-La herself, along with cartoonist Rick Trembles, musician and artist Robert Dayton, and Cinema Sewer proprietor Robon Bougie!  We can't wait to see what Spectacular Optical comes up with next!

Workshop: Learn to make your own graphic novel!

Attention all would-be graphic novelists! We're hosting a 3-evening workshop on the making of a graphic novel, led by none other than Drawn & Quarterly's Creative Director Tom Devlin!

All info in the poster below!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A snapshot of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Seconds, in anticipation of his in-store event on July 31st!

Hip hip hooray! The long-awaited day for Scott Pilgrim and Lost at Sea fans has arrived: Bryan Lee O'Malley's Seconds, his first post Pilgrim project, is finally available and in stock at your friendly neighbourhood D&Q bookstore! Seconds is a stand-alone graphic novel with an engaging cast of characters, a complex time-loop plot, and a darker outlook than the bright Scott Pilgrim series.

Katie, our often surly yet still sympathetic protagonist, is the owner and culinary mastermind of a successful restaurant - the "Seconds" of the title. Things are generally going fine for Katie - she is beloved at Seconds and working on opening a second restaurant, but she is in a bit of a rut and can't help wishing for her life to be better than it is. This is all well and good until she finds a mysterious house spirit who actually gives her a way to alter her past mistakes... 

Lis, the house spirit, presents as a fashion-forward fairy-type. But don't let her appearance fool you - she is no fun, cutesy sit-in-your-hand sprite!

Katie's new-found power seems like a real stroke of luck - until, of course, it isn't. Let's be real - when's the last time you read a story about self-serving alteration of the past that turned out well? The butterfly effect will get you every time!

Rounding out the cast are Max, Katie's charming ex; Andrew, the young chef Katie is having a fling with; and Hazel, the shy young server who just might know how to get Katie's magical muddle untangled. And what a muddle it is! Katie is transported from one reality to another as she desperately tries to undo one error after another.

These alternate-reality travel sequences really stand out. In his interview with Slate, O'Malley mentions having been inspired by contemporary European comic artists, like Blain (Quai d'Orsai, Donjon) and Kerascoët (Beauté, Donjon, Jolies Ténèbres), which is very apparent in these panels. Check out that gorgeous red tree of possibilities!   

Want more thoughts and opinions? Read an in-depth interview with Bryan over at Slate, and another one at the Comics Reporter. And then get ready for our in-store event on July 31st, hosted by Brad Mackay of the Doug Wright Awards! Tickets free with a purchase of the book! Come see us at 211 Bernard ouest, or give us a call: 514-279-2224!
Friday, 18 July 2014

TONIGHT: Launch of the Montreal Review of Books: Summer Edition!

Summer is here and with it, plenty of time for reading!

Tonight at 7 p.m., help us celebrate the season's best in Quebec literature at the launch party for this year's summer issue of the Montreal Review of Books!

Three fabulous Montreal authors will join us to read from their most recent books: Heather O'Neill from her second novel, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night; Anna Leventhal from her collection of short stories, Sweet Affliction; and Guillaume Morissette from his first novel, New Tab. Both Anna's and Guillaume's books will be available at a 10% discount, while Heather's book will be available at a 20% discount, like all our hardcover fiction! We'll have plenty of copies of the summer issue of the mRb on hand – stop by to pick up your copy, share glass of wine with us, and take home some excellent literature!

We're beyond excited for these three local (and beyond) superstars to be reading here at the same time! We have hosted launches for all three of their books and are delighted to host them again!

From the author of the international bestseller Lullabies for Little Criminals comes The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, a coming-of-age novel set on the seedy side of Montreal’s St. Laurent Boulevard. Gorgeous twins Noushcka and Nicolas Tremblay live with their grandfather in a tiny, sordid apartment on St. Laurent Boulevard. They are hopelessly promiscuous, wildly funny and infectiously charming. They are also the only children of the legendary Québécois folksinger Étienne Tremblay, who was as famous for his brilliant lyrics about working-class life as he was for his philandering bon vivant lifestyle and his fall from grace. With all the wit and poignancy that made Baby such a beloved character in Lullabies for Little Criminals, O’Neill writes of an unusual family and what binds them together and tears them apart.

An excellent review of the book by Emma Healey in the National Post here! And another great review from

A pregnancy test is taken at a wedding, a bad diagnosis leads a patient to a surprising outlook, and a civic holiday becomes a dystopian nightmare. By turns caustic, tender, and creepily hilarious, Sweet Affliction reveals the frailties, perversions, and resilience of Anna Leventhal’s cast of city-dwellers.

"Leventhal’s work grasps multiple and brazen connections between sisters, lovers, strangers, friends. These stories wander and please. They knife unexpectedly. Truth is lodged in all the cuts. These stories 'know the things energy can do.'"

Tamara Faith Berger, author of Maidenhead

"Sweet Affliction is — no big deal or anything — one of the most successful, high-functioning, sometimes perfect collections of short stories I’ve read in recent memory."

Andrew Hood, author of The Cloaca

"These stories stand Canadian literature on its head — amazing characters, totally original and unexpected situations, absolutely hilarious and heartfelt prose — Anna Leventhal is a one-of-a-kind talent."

Lee Henderson, author of The Man Game 

Set in Montreal, New Tab spans a year in the life of a twenty-six year old videogame designer as he attempts to reset his life, in the process chronicling with humor disillusion, boredom, self-destruction, Facebook chats, Concordia University, bilingualism, good parties, bad parties, a backyard cinema, social anxiety and running a possibly illegal DIY venue.

Written in a simple yet bold and astonishing style, New Tab is a profoundly intimate tale of self-reinvention and ambiguous relationships. A sharp, funny, modern novel from one of the most unique new writers in Canada.

“Set in a Montreal as vividly its own as Richler's, Morissette's fresh and original generational take brims with uncommon observations, understood character and abundantly happy-sad situations. A terrific read and a shining souvenir.”
- David McGimpsey (author of Li'l Bastard)

“Weird, poetic, funny and original… I tore through it.”
- Jonathan Goldstein (host of WireTap on CBC Radio One)

“The deconstruction of regrets, an email with feelings and the screaming universe cement Morissette as both a master of the absurd and a seer of the real. I lol'd.”
- Melissa Broder (author of Meat Heart)

Now in Stock: Anders Nilsen's God and the Devil at War in the Garden

As the publishers of many of Nilsen's gorgeous comics, the Drawn & Quarterly family loves to see his work get the attention it deserves. It's therefore so awesome to be housing Anders' newest independent book with mini-comic insert, God and the Devil at War in the Garden/Conversation Gardening.

This picture has no relevant point or anything, I just needed to show you a close-up of that quintessential Anders Nilsen drawing style: the impeccable attention to detail is just too much to bear on this beautiful fold-out cover. I mean damn. It's no wonder he gets called "one of the finest cartoonists of the last decade," as Heidi MacDonald succinctly put it.

Nilsen's description of God and the Devil at War in the Garden is as follows: 

It has a story about the Devil that wasn’t quite ready for inclusion in Rage of Poseidon (it’s going to be in the German language edition of that book later this year). It’s in that format – the silhouettes. There’s also a short collaborative piece I did with a friend, novelist Kyle Beachy, and a piece about a vacant lot in my old neighborhood in Chicago. And there’s some drawings and things. 

And slipped in between front and back cover is the much-discussed mini-comic Conversation Gardening, which has been getting press everywhere from It's Nice That and Comics Beat.

Nilsen's idea to both shed light on and subvert Amazon's business practices is as ingenious as it is beautiful.. Included with the book is an invitation to the reader: if you send Nilsen your receipt (a formality to prove that you bought it from an independent bookstore, rather than Amazon) and a request or question, he will send you a personalized drawing in response! As if that wasn't incentive enough to pick up a copy, it is absolutely gorgeous to look at too.

What's not to love about Nilsen focusing his exasperation with online retail giant Amazon for its negative effects on the publishing world? Nothing, y'all. Absolutely nothing. Come pick it up so you can get your personalized Anders Nilsen drawing, make everybody jealous, and then give your neighbour stank face when you see them getting an Amazon package.
Thursday, 17 July 2014

New in stock: Witzend!

In 1966, cartoonist Wallace Wood (of Mad and Daredevil fame, among many other things) founded Witzend, his self-published comics anthology, as a haven for himself and his professional cartoonist buddies to let their imaginations run free, unrestricted by censorship or commercial demands. Now, Fantagraphics has reissued Witzend's entire 656-page print run in one luxurious, double-hardcover set in a slipcase. Within, you'll find wild and woolly work by the likes of Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Reed Crandall, Ralph Reese, Archie Goodwin, Angelo Torres, Steve Ditko, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Art Spiegelman, Don Martin, Vaughn Bodé, Jim Steranko, Jeff Jones, Howard Chaykin, Trina Robbins, Bernie Wrightson, and literally dozens more! Above, you'll find an extensive video preview courtesy of Fantagraphics that shows off all the luscious details of this highly covetable collection. We've only got one copy of this coffee-table-busting volume in stock, so don't hesitate!
Sunday, 13 July 2014

Event Recap: Laura Silver Launches Knish!

Last Friday July 4 the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly had an absolute blast hosting the launch of Laura Silver's definitive book on the surprisingly complex and historically meaningful knish. Silver's book, Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food, had its Canadian launch with us, and we (and all the attendees) couldn't have been happier.

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ezra Soiferman, director of Man of Grease  among other punnily named movies  gave an immensely delightful and witty intro, opening with the most solid confirmation of our microphones working we've ever heard: "Can you hear me up there? Can you hear me down here? Can you hear me in the middle?”

So what did Ezra Soiferman have to say about the illustrious Laura Silver? Well, besides the basics (Laura is a native New Yorker and an award-winning journalist whose writing on food and culture has appeared in the New York Times, the Forward, the Jerusalem Report and on NPR), Laura and Ezra met at Le Mood, a Jewish arts and cultural event with mini lectures on a variety of Jewish topics, such as food and politics. Ezra also announced that as of the event, Knish was in its second printing.

The knishes that were featured at the event for all attendees were from Montreal favourite, Cheskie’s. Ezra gave the audience his Cheskie’s must-have: the chocolate babka. The secret to getting the right babka? One of them is the one that looks like a loaf of bread, it’s a bit dry, it’s alright, and the second one? It’s one of the best foods in the world. It’s the one behind the counter behind the cashier, a little to the right. The more you know.

Laura's talk included three readings, the highlight of which was the tale of a Polish town named Knyszyn, [KNISH-en], and the legend of the Knyszyn knish, which has its first English translation in Silver's book.

After the reading, Laura invited all the attendees of the launch to participate in what, as far as we know, is the first known knish drawing competition.

People frantically drew the baked snack, showcasing the variety in style, shape, and scale that Silver discussed in her reading. These were no "provincial" New York knishes, people; there were donut-shaped knishes, cube knishes... even sentient knishes.

Here are just a few examples. Truly, you are all wise baked good artists. The judges deliberated for a long time before awarding the prize to not one but two participants. The prize? Well, drumroll please...

The world's first publicly waffled knish! What does that mean, you ask? Well it kind of means what it sounds like: the amazing smell of Daniel Shumski, author of the upcoming Will It Waffle putting a knish in a waffle iron and coming out with... a waffled knish. It was too great.

Afterwards, people went knish crazy. It was a damn good time.

Thanks so much to everyone for coming, to Laura Silver, Ezra, Daniel, and everyone involved with a book. It was such an incredibly good time. And for all of you who missed out for either soccer or Flaneur related reasons, you can still get Knish where else but at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

This Week in Delightful Children's Books: Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Julie Morstad!

As a lover of Kyo Maclear's stories, Julie Morstad's drawings, and Julia Child's everything, Julia, Child is basically the epitome of everything baby me would ever want. Which is really fitting, considering the story is about a fictionalized Julia and bestie Simca deciding being a kid's where it's at, and that the adult world is a boring place where everybody rushes and worries.

The girls love cooking and they love the freedom and excitement that comes with being a kid, so they decide to share the magic with adults by making them a feast and helping them master the art of having a good time. The book's website is quick to point out that Julia, Child is a fictional tale "loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the very real Julia Child — a story that should be taken with a grain of salt and a generous pat of butter," which is adorable, and we all know if Julia Child had been able to magically turn adults into fun and fancy free children-at-hearts, she would have been on that in a heartbeat.

Maclear preserves certain elements of Child's life, however, including her famous friendship with penpal/collaborator Simone "Simca" Beck, who appears here as Julia's partner in crime, and shares Beck's real-life seriousness and sassy glasses

Morstad's style is gorgeous, a mixed media masterpiece that emphasizes the hurried, unseeing nature of the adults in black pen, and highlights the charm and delight of the children with Morstad's well-known, colourful illustrations.

All in all, Julia, Child is a sure bet for any kid, and serves as a poignant reminder to adults to be a little more lighthearted every once in a while. It also serves as a reminder to all of us that Julia Child rocked hard, and we should all go watch her TV series (or at the very least watch her make a chicken).

Buy it today! If not you won't get to own this brilliant image of a lady hitting a man with a french baguette.
Friday, 11 July 2014

2014 So Far...Bestsellers!

Oh, what a year...already! We've hosted some of our most successful Montreal book launches yet and it's been a stellar year for new graphic novels, D+Q and otherwise. Check out what books (published in 2014) were the hardest to keep stocked and stacked on our the shelves and tables...

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill//Sweet Affliction by Anna Leventhal//Us Conductors by Sean Michaels//On Loving Women by Diane Obomsawin//Ant Colony by Michael DeForge

This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki//Polyamorous Love Song by Jacob Wren//War of Streets and Houses by Sophie Yanow//Waiting for the Man by Arjun Basu//The Fledglings by David Homel

New Tab by Guillaume Morissette//The Worn Archive ed. by Serah-Marie McMahon//Everywhere Antennas by Julie Delporte//Petty Theft by Pascal Girard//Let's Talk About Love (expanded edition) by Carl Wilson

The Flame Throwers (pb) by Rachel Kushner//Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët//MxT by Sina Queyras//Bourbon & Eventide by Mike Spry//Artful (pb) by Ali Smith

Tenth of December (pb) by George Saunders//Americanah (pb) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie//The Orenda (pb) by Joseph Boyden//Chloes by Dean Garlick//How to Appear Perfectly Indifferent While Crying On the Inside by Jay Winston Richie

and -as honourable mention- our bestselling greeting card of 2014, hands (or claws) down:

The beloved Crabs: You Did It  illus. by Jon Klassen

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Librairie D+Q Graphic Novel Club is TONIGHT at 7pm!

What could be better than a little reading and discussing on what I assume is going to be a scorcher of a July evening? If you can think of anything, you let me know, because I sure can't. So why don't you join us for the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly book club! Every month we hold a gathering, hosted by D+Q bookstore or D+Q publishing house staffers, who will each choose GNs both new and old, D+Q and non, to discuss between the comfortable four walls of the bookstore. Refreshments will be provided and discussion will be lively! Come, one, come all, bring a friend...free to attend and 20% discount on that months selection for the entire month! So what's the pick for July?

Why it's This One Summer, by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki! Published in May and already receiving acclaim, This One Summer is a beautiful, intelligent coming of age story focused on a preteen girl old enough to witness the angst surrounding her, but not quite old enough to be invited in. Mariko Tamaki's slow burning tension and unromantic nostalgia is perfectly matched by Jillian Tamaki's purple ink washes and character-focused illustrations. This event will be hosted by store staffer Marcela Huerta.

Oh, et une chose de plus: la version française de This One Summer, Cet été là, est maintenant disponible!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Coming up: Kids Drawing Day with Ohara Hale!

Exciting news! Montreal artist and store friend Ohara Hale (L'abc de Monsieur Pizza, Moderne Luv) will be hanging out at our monthly Kids' Drawing Day on Sunday, July 27 at 10 a.m.! Co-presented by Kids Pop!
You might know the drill by now: we will provide the tables, chairs, pencil crayons, paper and snacks; guest artist Ohara will provide artistic inspiration in the form of a reading and a short drawing workshop; parents bring their kids, and kids bring their drawing skills and astounding imaginations! Recommended for kids aged 5-10!

We will also be selling copies of Ohara's new book series, Who Did It? 
From Publishers Weekly:
Five 10-page board books devoted to bodily emissions (and, more importantly, who’s responsible for them) comprise this proudly scatological boxed set from Canadian author-artist Hale. The books are a cacophony of sneezes, burps, flatulence, and excretion that feature naïvely scrawled cartoon animals. As in life, the commentary surrounding these actions is just as prominent—it’s a mix of helpful advice (“Use toilet paper to wipe,” suggests a seahorse) and scatological humor (“Oh no! I peed on my toy!” sobs a rabbit). Guaranteed to deliver big laughs, as well as useful information, for families who don’t mind potty humor.  

Ohara Hale, a Montreal based artist, illustrator and published children's book author, has been self-publishing her own small zines of jokes and small comics such as "Pizza Doing Stuff" and "Butts Over Butt" over the past few years. She recently published Moderne Luv, her first 40 page comic book with Ray Ray Books, along with other smaller comics focusing on similar subject matter! Her bilingual ABC book, L'abc de monsieur Pizza, has been a big seller at the store ever since it arrived on our shelves!
Friday, 4 July 2014

F.I.N.A.L.L.Y: Flaneur in Stock!

Make that acronym stand for whatever you want; nothing matters in this moment except that Flaneur Issue 03 is finally out, and that thunking sound you just heard is everyone dropping everything they're doing and coming to pick it up. By the way, look at the amazing and wonderful Tammy Flowers' gorgeous two page spread (we are obviously huge fans):

Those familiar with the publication know that Flaneur presents one street per issue. Their mandate is that they will choose the street, "embrace [its] complexity, its layers and fragmented nature with a literary approach. It creates a meaningful correlation between places, stories, people and objects that aren’t necessarily related. The magazine is aware of its subjectivity." (Flaneur)

The Flaneur staff braved Montreal's freezing, snow covered landscape to present the gem of a city underneath, the "vibrant, vivacious, and dynamic hybrid of stories and people mirroring the clashes of identities that is Canada." Above is an excerpt from a photo shoot that captures Montreal choreographer and dancer Frédérick Gravel staging a street intervention playing with the street’s void and dance in static format.

There is a gorgeous set of glossy photo spreads with foods Montrealers will be all too familiar with: Nouveau Palais, Lester's Deli, Le Glacier Bilboquet. The dreamy, gleaming, diner-style photos avoid the high-end - rather, they are familiar and warm, shiny and bright, reminiscent of the feeling you get when you walk into Royal Sous-Marins with nothin' to lose.

Sound artist Lisa's feature, here in a close up. You can also listen to additional content on their website. The array of content in this issue of Flaneur is too much to discuss even in a blog post, so all I can say is come down, pick one up before they're gone or out of print, and bask in the glory of your city. I will admit that I teared up reading the intro, titled Canadian Blue. I think you will too.

Flaneur will be available for sale Saturday, July 5th (post Flaneur launch), so we're awaiting iPhone 5 level line-ups.

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