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Monday, 1 September 2014

Graphic Novel Book Club #6: Daniel Clowes' David Boring

Each month we host a Graphic Novel Book Club meeting, open to all, during which we hang out and informally discuss a featured graphic novel. This month's pick is Daniel Clowes' David Boring! We will meet at the 211 store on Wednesday, September 24 at 7 p.m. Discussion will be hosted by Drawn & Quarterly's Jade Menni. There will be refreshments and collective insight! We offer you a 20% discount on David Boring from now until the meeting date.

About the book: From Daniel Clowes (Ghostworld, Eightball) comes the facinating story of David Boring, a nineteen-year-old security guard who obsessively tries to find his “ideal woman” while unearthing his father’s enigmatic past as a comic artist. When David finally meets the woman of his dreams, his life is suddenly turned upside-down in a series of mysterious misadventures filled with murder, paranoia, vengence, and the looming threat of apocalyptic nuclear war.

Better get reading!
Sunday, 31 August 2014

Eleanor Catton in conversation with Heather O'Neill

On Sunday, September 21st at 7 p.m., join us for a not-to-be-missed on-stage conversation at the 211 store! Eleanor Catton, author of the award-winning The Luminaries, will be interviewed by beloved Montreal writer Heather O’Neill (The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, Lullabies for Little Criminals). The conversation will be followed by a book-signing!

This event is co-presented by Blue Metropolis and Librairie Drawn & Quarterly.

Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize and Governor General’s Award for Fiction, and set during the heady days of New Zealand’s Gold Rush, The Luminaries is a magnificent novel of love, lust, murder, and greed, in which three unsolved crimes link the fates and fortunes of twelve men. Dickens meets Deadwood in this internationally celebrated phenomenon.

“The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is an entire narrative universe with its own mysterious cosmology. This exhilarating feat of literary design dazzles with masterful storytelling. Each character is a planet – complex and brilliantly revealed. Precise sensual prose illuminates greed, fear, jealousy, longing – all that it means to be human.”
—Jury citation, Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

“A magnificent novel: awesome in its structural complexity; addictive in its story-telling; and magical in its conjuring of a world of greed and gold.”
—Robert Macfarlane, the Man Booker Prize Chair of Judges

“The type of novel that you will devour only to discover that you can't find anything of equal scope and excitement to read once you have finished. . . . Do yourself a favour and read The Luminaries. . . .”
—The Independent

“Irresistible, masterful, compelling. . . . The Luminaires has a gripping plot that is cleverly unravelled to its satisfying conclusion, a narrative that from the first page asserts that it is firmly in control of where it is taking us. . . . [Catton is] a mistress of plot and pacing. . . .”
—The Telegraph (5-star review)

“Every sentence of this intriguing tale set on the wild west coast of southern New Zealand during the time of its goldrush is expertly written, every cliffhanger chapter-ending making us beg for the next to begin. . . . The consummate literary page-turner. . . .”
—The Guardian

“Note-perfect. . . . [Catton’s] authority and verve are so impressive that she can seemingly take us anywhere; each time, we trust her to lead us back. . . . A remarkable accomplishment.”
—Globe and Mail

“The Luminaries is an impressive novel, captivating, intense and full of surprises.”
—Times Literary Supplement

“Beautifully rendered. . . . Momentous. An exquisite world unto itself.”

Eleanor Catton was born in 1985 in London, Ontario, and raised in New Zealand. Her internationially celebrated first novel, The Rehearsal, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Betty Trask Award, and the NZ Society of Authors' Best First Book Award, was a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Writers Prize, and longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Orange Prize. She holds an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was also an adjunct professor. She currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand. 
Saturday, 30 August 2014

New in stock: Even More Bad Parenting Advice by Guy Delisle!

Drawn & Quarterly is delighted to be the publisher of the second volume of parenting misadventures by acclaimed Quebec comic artist Guy Delisle! Delisle rose to prominence with his award-winning travelogues of journeys in North Korea, Jerusalem, Burma, and China, but his Users Guide to Neglectful Parenting has been a sleeper hit with a lighter series of self-deprecating vignettes that depict the author as a lax, lovably immature stay-at-home dad. Even More Bad Parenting Advice offers exactly what it promises: watch as Delisle bribes his children with ice cream and video games, threatens them with shark attacks and homeless houseguests, and zones out during PTA meetings. Fun for the whole family!

Friday, 29 August 2014

New in stock: Sisters by Raina Telgemeier!

There's something very charming about the graphic memoir. From Guy Delisle to Alison Bechdel, the medium has allowed some fantastic storytellers the space to stroll down memory lane. Now among their number is Raina Telgemeier, whose newest book, Sisters, tells the story of a summer family road trip taken the year before high school.

A companion to the #1 New York Times bestseller Smile, Sisters takes on the well-tread topic of sibling relationships, with vicious fighting made worse by rising temperatures, pet deaths, and parents potentially splitting up. Ultimately, the memoir shows that despite high tempers, Raina and her sister Amara will always have each others' backs, and that long and difficult summers are made better with company.

With straightforward dialogue (perfect for the book's eight to twelve age range) and clean, cartoon-like art, Telgemeier keeps things simple, but her work is the richer for it. When the New York Times says you write stories we have all lived, and tell them "in a way that feels uncomfortable yet transcendent," you know you're doing something right.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Fall silkscreening workshop with Leyla Majeri

Great news! Montreal artist Leyla Majeri will be back at the store in October to give a 3-night silkscreening course! Get in touch with us to reserve your spot!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

John Porcellino launches The Hospital Suite

We are excited to welcome mini-comics genius John Porcellino to the store to launch his new work, The Hospital Suite (Drawn & Quarterly)! Join us on Wednesday, September 17 at 7 p.m. for a presentation, a signing of books, and a special screening of Root Hog or Die, a film about Porcellino himself!

The Hospital Suite is a landmark work by the celebrated cartoonist and small-press legend John Porcellino—an autobiographical collection detailing his struggles with illness in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Porcellino’s work is lauded for its universality and quiet, clear-eyed contemplation of everyday life. The Hospital Suite is a testimony to this subtle strength, making his struggles with the medical system and its consequences for his mental health accessible and engaging.

"In King Cat, Porcellino excels at peaceful Zen moments of observation. Here, his simple, black lines and bare-bones drawings have a powerful economy that present the story cleanly, without flourish, detailing a frightening and inescapable spiral into dysfunction without hyperbole. The result is a clear-eyed, penetrating book about the helplessness of illness which should bring Porcellino a wider audience beyond his cult following." - Publishers Weekly

John Porcellino was born in Chicago in 1968, and has been writing, drawing, and publishing minicomics, comics, and graphic novels for over twenty-five years. His celebrated self-published series King-Cat Comics, begun in 1989, has inspired a generation of cartoonists. According to artist Chris Ware, "John Porcellino's comics distill, in just a few lines and words, the feeling of simply being alive."

Facebook event here!

Two books about books and looking from designer Peter Mendelsund

If the cover of Peter Mendelsund's Cover is arresting, it's no accident: Mendelsund is one of the most sought-after designers of book covers in publishing, and Cover is a monograph on his work. Opening it, I was surprised to see that not only do I recognize almost all of his book covers, but a huge number of books in the store that we like to prominently display because of their striking looks are, in fact, Mendelsund designs, including editions of classics by Kafka, Nabokov, James Joyce, Julio Cortazar, and Simone de Beauvoir as well as newer titles by Tom McCarthy, Ben Marcus, Martin Amis, Stieg Larsson, Mark Z. Danielewski, Charles Yu, Jo Nesbø, and James Gleick, among many others. The interviews with authors he's worked with are lively, but the best part is the documentation of his process, including dozens of unused designs that he tossed out on the way to his finished versions.

In a bookstore, the design of a cover is no trivial matter. Excellent titles that might otherwise have languished in a backlist can get a sudden boost from the right presentation. I quite clearly remember our enthusiasm when we saw that we could stock (and sell) more copies of De Beauvoir's A Woman Destroyed when it was reissued with Mendelsund's stylish, green-lipstick-kissed cover -- and the same goes for recent reissues of Kafka. And would I have noticed Taiwanese author Wu Ming-Yi's fascinating sci-fi novel The Man with the Compound Eyes if not for Mendelsund's intriguing, enigmatic cover? Maybe not.

The truism is that you're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but the fact is that smart publishers tend to ensure that their best titles get the look they deserve...often by calling Mendelsund, it would seem. Clearly, he has a gift, not just for catching the eye but for finding a visual shorthand that distills the essence of the book in question. More than just a flashy window-dresser, Mendelsund really understands how literature works. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to think of him as a critic in the guise of a designer.

Which brings us to his other book, released simultaneously with Cover. What We See When We Read is a combination of literary criticism, pop psychology, and an art book in itself. In it, Mendelsund explains, with copious visual aids, what happens in the mind's eye when we scan words on a page. Full of philosophical reflections on the experience of reading, What We See When We Read also tells us a lot about how a designer thinks. As Mendelsund puts it in a revealing interview in the New York Times: "I do this in my job with the view of actually putting something on a book cover. All of these steps are taking place for me every day—the reading, the translating of the reading into the imagination, and the translating of the imagination into an actual physical artifact. It has to be generalized enough that other people can look at the cover and say, 'That’s the kind of thing I would imagine as well.'"

The praise on the back of What We See When We Read is also (understandably) lavish. D&Q's own Chris Ware says: "It reads as if the ghost of Italo Calvino audited Vladimir Nabokov's literature class and wrote his final paper with the help of Alvin Lustig and the Radiolab guys." Wow!

Also revealed in that NYT interview is a hint of Mendelsund's next project: a redesign of the works of Italo Calvino. A more perfect match for Mendelsund's talents could hardly be imagined and his discussion of some of the rejected concepts is painfully exciting, in part because he reveals a series of exquisite ideas that will never see the light of day. Rest assured, however, that we will be stocking all the new editions as they become available.
Saturday, 23 August 2014

New in stock: MEGAHEX by Simon Hanselmann!

Who knew a comic about a witch, a cat, and an owl getting high could be "too real"? Well, Melbourne's Simon Hanselmann is here to amuse and/or depress the hell out of you with his tales of stoner mischief, depravity, and roommate-cruelty. Marvel as Werewolf Jones sticks foreign objects up his butt as party entertainment, Mike the Warlock explains his job (working in receivals at K-Mart), and Megg the Witch and Mogg the cat engage in interspecies romance while subjecting the hapless Owl to an endless variety of humiliating pranks.

Megahex is Hanselmann's biggest collection to date, a hefty hardcover with over 200 pages, featuring plenty of previously unpublished "adventures". Want to hear some praise for this book from the giants of comics? Okay then! Daniel Clowes says" "Simon Hanselmann is the real deal, for sure. He captures that stoner stay-at-home lifestyle so accurately that I actually find his comics really depressing and thank god I don't ever have to hang out with anybody like that ever again." Peter Bagge, meanwhile, says, "What's not to love?" We can't help but agree.
Monday, 18 August 2014

Graphic Novel Book Club August edition: Chester Brown's Ed the Happy Clown

Each month, we choose a graphic novel to discuss at the store. Our graphic novel club is open to all! This month, come discuss Chester Brown's Ed the Happy Clown with Drawn & Quarterly's Managing Editor Tracy Hurren! This is happening Wednesday, August 20th at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided! Lively conversation will be had!

**There will be a 20% discount on Ed the Happy Clown from now until the book club meeting!**

Why you should be excited:
In the late 1980s, the idiosyncratic Chester Brown (author of the much-lauded Paying For It and Louis Riel) began writing the cult classic comic book series Yummy Fur. Within its pages, he serialized the groundbreaking Ed the Happy Clown, revealing a macabre universe of parallel dimensions. Thanks to its wholly original yet disturbing story lines, Ed set the stage for Chester Brown to become a world-renowned cartoonist. Ed the Happy Clown is a hallucinatory tale that functions simultaneously as a dark roller-coaster ride of criminal activity and a scathing condemnation of religious and political charlatanism. As the world around him devolves into madness, the eponymous Ed escapes variously from a jealous boyfriend, sewer monsters, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and a janitor with a Jesus complex. Brown leaves us wondering, with every twist of the plot, just how Ed will get out of this scrape. 

The intimate, tangled world of Ed the Happy Clown is definitively presented here, repackaged with a new foreword by the author and an extensive notes section, and, as with every Brown book, astonishingly perceptive about the zeitgeist of its time.

Recap: New York Lit Night in Montreal

New York Lit Night in Montreal has come and gone, taking with it some great talent from south of the border. The event, which took place August 8th at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, was presented by This Is Happening Whether You Like It Or Not! and was more of an informal gathering of friends than a reading (and had the comfy sweaters and ecigarettes to prove it).

The writers were introduced by Guillaume Morissette (New Tab) and Metatron Press founder Ashley Opheim, who seemed to think of finding new and increasingly grand ways to compliment the writers as a personal challenge (albeit not a particularly difficult one). 

First up was Sarah Jean Alexander, who immediately ingratiated herself to the audience by complimenting Montreal (pro tip: this will always work). A captivating poet, Sarah began the first of her three poems with "so many forgotten blowjobs in my life." And it only got better from there.

Oscar Bruno D'Artois, who has both a great name and a very entertaining Tumblr, was next. Is there a rule we didn't know about wherein all hip new writers must reference emojis in their work? Serious question, even if I am as much a fan of that little cat with heart eyes as the next person. 

Lucy K. Shaw also took a pro-Montreal line, asking (rightfully) "why wouldn't everyone live here?" She is the editor of Shabby Dollhouse, an online literary journal, and began by reading about Sylvia Plath's house, ending with a love story called The Curse

“You know that feeling you get in your stomach when you have a crush on someone? I’m kind of feeling that right now, because Gabby Bess is one of my favourite contemporary writer.” This is how Gabby Bess is introduced, and the fluttery gut feelings are warranted. Gabby read from her current book, Alone with Other People, and mentioned an upcoming project entitled Post-pussy. So, you know, exciting stuff.

Last came Spencer Madsen, rounding out a very enjoyable evening. Spencer is the founder of Sorry House, the author of You Can Make Anything Sad, and, despite the fact that he usually does readings in a shirt emblazoned with his own name, seems very down to earth.

Afterward, the crowd mingled and chatted before heading out to an after party in the neighbourhood. As is only fitting.
Sunday, 17 August 2014

New in stock: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

By now a lot of you have heard of Roxane Gay's deliciously titled Bad Feminist, a collection of essays with pop culture topics ranging from the Sweet Valley High series to Kate Zambreno's Green Girl. But have you heard about just how refreshing and wonderful this book is? Well maybe you have, but what's one more topping on the sundae of praise Gay has been receiving?

Bad Feminist is separated into 5 categories of essays: Me, Gender & Sexuality, Race & Entertainment, Politics, Gender & Race, and Back to Me. But despite the separation of the personal essays into their own categories, Gay's emotional presence is felt in every piece, from the solace found in the first African American Miss America Vanessa Williams to her fascination with strong women (Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games trilogy) and that fascination's connection to a traumatic sexual assault in her teens, you feel like you know a lot about Roxane Gay by the time you're done.

One of the best things about Bad Feminist is how approachable it is, a "text for those of us who constructed our feminism from the pages of teen chick lit as much as from the musings of post-modern theorists" (Melissa Harris). It's funny, smart, and engaging - not necessarily guiding you down one set path to one set definition of feminism but letting you find your own way, much like Gay herself has.

Several of Gay's pieces have been published elsewhere, but you owe it to yourself to get this collection. It's a sure to be classic, and a very necessary entry into the feminist oeuvre.

Jay Winston Ritchie launches Something You Were, Might Have Been, or Have Come to Represent

Join us on Wednesday September 10th at 7 p.m. to celebrate the launch of local writer Jay Winston Ritchie's new book, Something You Were, Might Have Been, or Have Come to Represent (Insomniac Press).  Readings by Blare Coughlin and Jay Winston Ritchie. Hosting by Jon Paul Fiorentino. Refreshments will be served!

Something You Were, Might Have Been, or Have Come to Represent is Jay's first book of short stories, published by Insomniac Press. In nine stories, nine young musicians search for their artistic voice while constantly being sidetracked by fame, drugs, potluck parties, call centre jobs, and other things.
Jay Winston Ritchie is the author of the poetry chapbook How to Appear Perfectly Indifferent While Crying on the Inside and is editor-in-chief of The Void, Concordia's only bilingual literary arts magazine.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

New in stock: Colorlesss Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

It's true, folks: a new Murakami novel has been released, and we have it. But you may already know that, given, as none other than Patti Smith put it in her review for the New York Times: "A devotional anticipation is generated by the announcement of a new Haruki Murakami book. Readers wait for his work the way past generations lined up at record stores for new albums by the Beatles or Bob Dylan." In Japan, this book sold a million copies in the first week.

The premise of Murakami's latest concerns a "colorless" man, so-called partly because, in his youth, he had  group of close-knit friends of whom each member's surname was a color (Red, Blue, White, and Black) except for Tazaki. The book's central drama concern's Tazaki's estrangement from these friends and, spurred by a love interest later in life, his attempt to reconnect. Naturally, in true Murakami style, Tazaki's journey takes on qualities of a mythic quest.  

While saturated with a typical Murakami atmosphere of urban ennui and replete with other trademarks of his style -- realism tinged with dream-like hints of parallel worlds, an obsessive fascination with music, especially classical and jazz, stories within the story that flash back to historical events, and occasional eruptions of weird sex -- Patti Smith also noted that Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki marks a certain shift for Murakami: "The book reveals another side of Murakami, one not so easy to pin down. Incurably restive, ambiguous and valiantly struggling toward a new level of maturation. A shedding of Murakami skin. It is not 'Blonde on Blonde,' it is 'Blood on the Tracks.'" Come get your own copy (complete with beautiful Chip Kidd-designed cover) today!


Mireille Silcoff launches Chez L'Arabe at The Emerald

House of Anansi Press and Librairie Drawn & Quarterly present the launch of Montreal writer Mireille Silcoff's new book, Chez L'Arabe. Join us at The Emerald (5295 ave. du Parc) on Tuesday, September 9th at 8 p.m. for food, drinks, readings, and surprise musical guests!

Chez L'Arabe is a dazzling debut collection from award-winning journalist and New York Times Magazine contributor Mireille Silcoff. Inspired by the real life medical struggles of the author, this stunning debut collection opens with a gripping portrait of chronic illness in a series of linked stories about a woman in her mid-thirties, who is trapped in her elegantly accoutered Montreal townhouse — and in her own mind and body. As she struggles with her health, amongst an increasingly indifferent husband and volatile mother, she encounters unimaginable depths of loneliness and realizes that, even after she recovers, her life will never be the same.

Mireille Silcoff is the founding editor of Guilt & Pleasure Quarterly, a magazine of new Jewish writing and ideas, and is the author of three books about drug and youth culture. She is a lead columnist with Canada's National Post and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and other publications. She lives in Montreal.

Friday, 15 August 2014

The Librairie is Thick with New Peaches!

It's brand-newest issue of fuzziest food mag in the orchard!  Look at this gorgeous cover!

Don't let these recent rainy days and icy eves get you down, there still some summer to be squeezed outand the newest Lucky Peach would make a welcome addition to some pre-labour day vacation plans.


CLAMS, Bourdain, Korean BBQ, CLAMS, An oral history of fishing in Gaza, CLAMS, A revised History of the Harvey Wallbanger, The True Price of Cheap Shrimp, CLAMS, Northern California's Seafood Harvesters, Sea Cucumbers, CLAMS, CLAMS, CLAMS, CLAMS and more!

Dock your trawler at the salty ol' D+Q marina and grab your copy today!

Jon Paul Fiorentino launches I'm Not Scared of You or Anything

Join us on Saturday, September 6th at 7 p.m. for the launch of Montreal writer and store friend Jon Paul Fiorentino's newest book, I'm Not Scared of You or Anything. Presented by Anvil Press and Librairie Drawn & Quarterly - with surprise special guests!

The characters in I’m not Scared of You or Anything are invigilators, fake martial arts experts, buskers, competitive pillow fighters, drug runners, and, of course, grad students. This collection of comedic short stories and exploratory texts is the ninth book by the critically acclaimed and award-winning author Jon Paul Fiorentino. Deftly illustrated by Maryanna Hardy, these texts ask important questions, like: How does a mild mannered loser navigate the bureaucratic terrain of exam supervision? What happens when you replace the text of Christian Archie comics with the text of Hélène Cixous? And, most important of all, what would it be like if Mr. Spock was a character in the HBO series GIRLS?

Praise for INSOYOA:
“I’m sure something scares Jon Paul Fiorentino, and maybe it drives him toward the deadpan magic he wields so masterfully in these pages. This is a daring and funny collection.”

“Fiorentino takes the path you’re on in life and sidesteps it just enough to create surreal little worlds, worlds where you can’t help but burst out laughing. A master of dark, comedic timing, he’s perfectly complemented by the delicate, terrifying, and hilarious illustrations of Maryanna Hardy. This book is one of my favourite reads in ages.”


"Jon Paul Fiorentino has made a career of using humour to stand up for the lonely and vulnerable. In addition to the more straightforward, Sedaris-esque comic pieces, the new book sees Fiorentino carrying on his past practice of genre/discipline/media mash-ups. His most fully realized."—MONTREAL GAZETTE

"Fiorentino has a gift for explaining the anxieties, doubts, errors, loves and neediness of humans in a way that is easily readable due to his deadpan humour. I'm Not Scared of You or Anything is a collection for readers bored by more traditional CanLit. It's a book of outcasts, misfits and underdogs written for outcasts, misfits and underdogs. Unfiltered, Fiorentino deftly writes what some of us may think from time to time, but would never dare say aloud. He really isn't scared of anything. "

Jon Paul Fiorentino is the author of the novel Stripmalling, which was shortlisted for the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and six poetry collections, including The Theory of the Loser Class, which was shortlisted for the A. M. Klein Prize. He lives in Montreal, where he teaches writing at Concordia University, edits Matrix magazine and runs Snare Books.
Thursday, 14 August 2014

Inanna Publications double launch with Ursula Pflug and Phyllis Rudin

Join us on Friday, September 5th at 7 p.m. for an Inanna Publications double book launch, featuring Ursula Pflug and Phyllis Rudin and their new books - Motion Sickness and Evie, the Bab, and the Wife, respectively.

Motion Sickness is a flash novel containing subtle magic realist and slipstream elements. It consists of 55 chapters of exactly 500 words each accompanied by a wood-cut like, scratchboard illustrations that follow one young woman’s humorous and poignant misadventures in the worlds of employment, friendship, dating, birth control and abortion.

About Evie, the Baby and the Wife: When your womb says jump, it’s safer not to ask how high. Played out against the backdrop of the fight for women’s reproductive rights in Canada, Evie, The Baby, and The Wife  is the boisterous tale of a mother and daughter at odds, struggling to reconnect across a uterine divide.

Ursula Pflug is author of the critically acclaimed slipstream novel Green Music (2002). She has published over 70 short stories in professional publications in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. She has published dozens of art and book reviews in Canada and the U.S., and has had several plays professionally produced, one solo-authored (Nobody Likes The Ugly Fish, 1994), and the remainder collaboratively created. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and has also been shortlisted for the Aurora, the Sunburst, Pulp Press’s 3-Day Novel, Descant’s Novella Contest, and many more. Currently, she edits short fiction for The Link and teaches creative writing with a focus on the short story at Loyalist College. Her story collection After the Fires appeared in 2008 and Harvesting The Moon, a new collection, is forthcoming. Her novel, The Alphabet Stones, was published in 2013. For more on Ursula: http://www.ursulapflug.ca/

 Phyllis Rudin has lived in the U.S., France, and Canada. Her award-winning short stories have appeared in numerous Canadian and American literary magazines. Before turning to writing full-time, she was the history librarian at McGill University. She lives in Montreal which serves as the landscape for all her fiction.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Claire Holden Rothman launches My October

Please join us on Thursday, September 4th at 7 p.m. to celebrate Montreal writer Claire Holden Rothman's new book, My October!

In October 1970, FLQ terrorists kidnapped a British diplomat in Montreal and held him hostage for fifty-nine days. More than thirty years later, the story continues to reverberate, and a Montreal family is at a crossroads. The three members of the Lévesque family each have their own private struggles. Luc Lévesque is a celebrated Quebec writer, revered as much for his novels about the working-class neighbourhood of Saint-Henri as for his separatist views. But this is 2001. The dreams of a new nation are dying, and Luc is increasingly dissatisfied with his life. Luc’s wife, Hannah, has worked faithfully as his translator for years, yet she is also the daughter of a man who served as a special prosecutor during the October Crisis, and she has distanced herself from her English-speaking family. Hugo, their troubled fourteen-year-old son, has been living in the shadow of a larger-than-life father and is struggling with his own identity. In confusion and anger, he commits a reckless act that puts everyone around him on a collision course with the past.

My October examines issues of history, language, and cultural identity amid the ethnic and linguistic diversity of today’s Montreal. Inspired in part by two real-life figures from Quebec’s past—James Richard Cross, the British diplomat who was held captive by FLQ terrorists, and Jacques Lanctôt, the man who was Cross’s captor—this is also a story about the province’s turbulent history and ever-shifting role within the country at whose heart it lies.

Weaving together three unique voices, Rothman has created a masterful tale of a modern family torn apart by the weight of history and words left unsaid.

Claire Holden Rothman is the author of The Heart Specialist, which was a bestseller and was longlisted for the Giller. She is also the author of two story collections, and her translation of Canada’s first novel, L’influence d’un livre (The Influence of a Book) by Philippe-Ignace-François Aubert de Gaspé, won the John Glassco Translation Prize.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

New in stock: Strange Plants

Strange Plants is the first publication from Zioxla, a creative studio headed by Zio Baritaux, a prolific writer and editor on graffiti and street art who has worked on major exhibitions at LA MOCA, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris.

For Strange Plants, she brought together 25 artists: some whose work focuses on plants and the natural world (for example, Lee Kwang-Ho's sensational portraits of enlarged cacti or Stephen Eichhorn's elaborate collages constructed out of foliage), some who were asked to create new work based on the theme of strange plants (Patrick Martinez, Matt Furie, Alvaro Ilizarbe, among others), and a handful of tattoo artists who were asked to create designs with plants in mind (ranging from a flowerpot smoking a cigarette to an opium poppy in the shape of a naked woman).

Strange Plants was designed by Folch Studio, an award-winning design house in Barcelona whose aesthetic you may recognize from their work on Apartamento magazine. The book's subtle, tactile cover is inspired by the practice of pressing flowers inside books: each copy comes with a blank stamped surface with three matte paper adhesives inside, which readers can use to make their own covers.

You can read even more about the book on It's Nice That, from whom we borrowed the images below:

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