November 3, 2016
In the weekly Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week, the Montreal bookstore recommends several new works of fiction, art books, periodicals, and comics.
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is one of Montreal's premiere independent bookstores.
by Elena Ferrante
The Ferrante Fever trundles on! Frantumaglia offers readers an anatomy of the brilliance of Elena Ferrante, collecting over twenty years of essays, letters, interviews, and ruminations. The famed author of the Neapolitan Quartet discusses some of the most pressing questions from her fans, including her choice to remain anonymous and film adaptations of her work. The book is aptly named—“frantumaglia” translates roughly to “a collection of fragments”—as it recruits snatches of thought, memory and dialogue to create a sparkling and intimate self-portrait of a writer enraptured by her craft. It is important to note that Frantumaglia has come in the wake of invasive attempts to unearth the author’s identity. It is wonderful to see the person behind the Elena Ferrante project take back the reigns of their own story.
Moomin and Family Life
by Tove Jansson
New D+Q! The much beloved Moomin cast return with a story about familial love and reunion. Tove Jansson’s gorgeous pastel panels bring to life the lovable Moomin Family and all of their bumbling adventures. The plot follows Moomin, who has lost his house, money, and girlfriend, and is wallowing in despair. He is attempting to drown himself—without success—when he runs into his family. Papa Moomin is facing his own strife, as he is bored by middle-class tedium and has reached a midlife crisis. Tove Jansson again proves his ability to create sweet yet complex characters, as this whimsical tale shows us that love and support make true wealth, especially in times of loss.
The Case of Alan Turing
by Éric Liberge & Arnaud Delalande
Alan Turing was the brilliant mathematician assigned by the British government to help decipher the Nazi’s Enigma machines during World War II. Only the minds of he and his team were able to crack the codes, a feat which saved countless lives and swung the conflict towards the Allied side. All the while, as a gay man he was forced to keep his life wrapped in its own web of painful secrets. After admitting his homosexuality to the police, Turing only narrowly avoided prison by agreeing to chemical castration. He committed suicide two years later. The details of Turing’s war heroics were hidden until 2012, when once-classified files were released to the public. His life was made famous by the Oscar winning 2014 film The Imitation Game, but Éric Liberge & Arnaud Delalande’s graphic reimagining of his life delves far deeper into the psyche of this tortured genius. The Case of Alan Turing is a haunting case study of the man who was championed for his intelligence but demonized for his sexual preferences.
Thus Bad Begins
by Javier Marías
One of Spain’s greatest contemporary writers, Javier Marías has garnered a reputation for his searching, mesmerizing works of fiction, most recently with The Infatuations. His latest novel, Thus Bad Begins, furthers the themes that Marías has explored in his previous work, namely the quest towards truth and the effects of the Spanish civil war. The story follows Juan de Vere, a young man nearing the end of a university degree, who becomes the personal assistant of an eccentric film director Eduardo Muriel. The former idolizes the inaccessible latter, who uses this position of power to draw the young man into his mysterious and sinister affairs. Thus Bad Begins is a pendulous novel, a prime example of what fiction can accomplish at its best, as Marías expertly pulls the reader down the gauntlet of the characters’ intrigues.
Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey
by Frances Wilson
Romantic poet, obsessive, opium-eater. Thomas De Quincey became embedded in our culture as his writings and thoughts concerning opium and murder inspired writers for generations, notably Dostoyevsky, Woolf, and Joyce. His seminal text “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater” recounts his misadventures in Wordsworth’s cottage, which De Quincey turned into an opium den. Vigorously recounted by Frances Wilson, De Quincey’s life was “either angels ascending on vaults of cloud or vagrants shivering on the city streets.” Guilty Thing is a stunning biography of a man of dizzying complexity, and is told with meticulous research and enviable prose.
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)