What those in the know will be reading this fall
The buzz this fall at Drawn and Quarterly is all about the "axis of evil." Chris Oliveros, publisher of contemporary and avant-garde comic art, says he’s excited about the upcoming release of Baghdad Journal by Steve Mumford, and Pyongyang by Guy Delisle. Baghdad Journal features watercolours and commentary by Mumford, an American who visited Iraq before the beheadings started in 2003 and 2004. Delisle’s adventures as an animation director in North Korea are the fodder for the black humour of Pyongyang. Oliveros is also hyped about the recent release of Wimbledon Green, an old-fashioned graphic novel by the Canadian illustrator Seth that is the publishing house’s current hit. Critics are buzzing about this finely crafted romp that satirizes the graphic novel industry and pays tribute to the comic books of the past. "Wimbledon Green is a must-read for autumn," he says.
Literary publicist Rita Schaffer had nothing to express but superlatives for The Unyielding Clamour of the Night, the new novel by Neil Bissoondath. "I love this book, it’s beautifully written and I’m sure that it will be on everyone’s must-read list this fall," she enthused. In this novel, set in a war-torn country with no name, Bissoondath’s hero, Arun, is a sensitive young man who turns his back on a comfortable life and finds himself wandering down the trail towards his calling as a suicide bomber. Schaffer is equally thrilled about William Weintraub’s Crazy About Lily, a novel about a young man who falls in love with a stripper in Montreal during the 1940s. It’s a hoot of a romp through Montreal’s Sin City past. Kicking off the fall in what Schaffer describes as the reading event of the season, though, is Salman Rushdie, who is scheduled to read from his latest novel Shalimar the Clown late in September at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. Stay tuned for an exact date.
The Words and Music Show has been a feature every third Sunday of the month at Casa del Popolo for half a decade. The brainchild of wordsmith/musician Ian Ferrier blends the creations of writers and poets with the sounds of local Montreal musicians, and the organizer’s excited about things to come. "Our next two shows should be a whole lot of fun," he chimed. "Our September 18 gig features Kaie Kellough as host, and when our fifth anniversary show kicks off on October 30 the evening will be as festive as it is entertaining." Kellough describes the September 18 event as a slam format, spiced with special guests. He’s psyched about the evening that will feature poets singing their verse, first in a cappella style and then later with guest musicians. (Spoken word artists should start exercising their vocal chords and sign up for the competition.)
For over 30 years, Véhicule Press has been an award-winning publishing house releasing poetry, works of fiction, social history, Quebec studies, Jewish studies, jazz history and restaurant guides. Véhicule publicist Stephanie MacLean is especially excited about three new books that the publishing house will be launching this fall. "The New Canon, edited by Carmine Starnino, is an anthology of the works of 50 Canadian poets all under the age 50," she explains. The book is sure to challenge prevailing tastes, she says, as many of the new poets have not been featured in a major anthology before. "We’re also launching How We All Swiftly, an anthology of Don Coles’ first six books of poetry. Also in the upcoming months, the beautifully crafted fiction The Rent Collector, by B. Glen Rotchin, will be hitting the shelves of bookstores across the country." The Rent Collector takes place in the heart of Montreal’s needle trade district and follows the trials and tribulations of Gershon Stein, who struggles to reconcile with his ailing Holocaust-survivor father.
"Cassy Peerson is a young woman who lives in a car on a beach in an unnamed California town and works as a mermaid at a strip club." Andy Brown, founder of Conundrum Press, speaks enthusiastically about Sextant, a novel by Maya Merrick that the publishing house is launching this fall. "Filled with spunky dialogue and strong character development, Sextant is a searing portrait of dysfunction and redemption from a rising new talent," Brown says.
He’s also gonzo about the fall launch Bowlbrawl, an epic tale written in Hunter S. Thompson style about the life of Robert Towell. "His rise from the exploitive ranks of provincial under-14 bowling stardom to the corporate late-1990s sabre-toothed world of full-contact hypermasculine bowling reads like an asylum memoir," says Brown. Catch author Nathaniel G. Moore at a local bowlerama when Bowlbrawl is launched in October.