RECAP: Guillaume Morissette launches New Tab!

Last Thursday, April 24th, we were proud to host the launch of Guillaume Morissette's new novel, New Tab (presented by The Quebec Writers’ Federation’s Writers Out Loud series). The book is published by Esplanade Books (a division of Vehicule Press), and the imprint's editor, Dimitri Nasrallah (himself the author of two novels and a regular contributor to the Toronto Star), was on hand to give introductions. Here's Guillaume and Dimitri:

Pic via @DimitriNasralla
But before Guillaume got up to read, Ashley Opheim acted as his "opening band" (as she called herself). Ashley and Guillaume co-curate the reading series This Is Happening Whether You Like It Or Not, and she read from her recent poetry chapbook I Am Here (from Metatron Press).

Phone in hand (she had her poems saved there). One of them, entitled "Killing It," involved a documentary film about Seaworld that she watched on Netflix...and also a yeast infection. “I sip my cell phone, mistaking it for a glass of water,” she read (from her phone).

After anther introduction by Dimitri -- he decribed New Tab as the “feel-good book of the year!” -- Guillaume got up and asked people if they liked Ashley’s reading. "What about David Foster Wallace? Lorrie Moore? Super Mario Kart?" The reactions ascended in enthusiasm. “Super Mario Kart crowd, eh? My book is all about Super Mario Kart.”

New Tab isn't actually about Mario Kart, though its protagonist does work as a video game designer. During the passages Guillaume read, his misadventures (clearly loosely autobiographical) are described in deadpan, anhedonic (if wryly humorous) detail: drinking, dancing, doing drugs, chat conversations about hangovers, and generally trying (with only partial success) to create a sense of "fun" (quotation marks essential). Pants are removed in public, films are screened in backyards, jobs are lost and found again. He visualizes a friend's sex drive as "a fancy car from a car commercial crashing into a brick wall at maximum speed." He imagines his own as "a merry-go-round, cute horses bobbing up and down gently for a few minutes and then stopping."

Guillaume closed on the sentence, “My hangover is the only thing keeping me alive,” and then everybody got back to drinking and chatting before the party moved elsewhere. Thanks again to everybody who came!

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