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November 27, 2016

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - November 27, 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.

Seth’s Dominion

Seth’s Dominion
by Seth, dir. Luc Chamberland

New D+Q! There are few modern cartoonists with the gravitas of Seth. The fabled Canadian comics-man is the creator of D+Q staples It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken and the Palookaville series, and is the subject of a new documentary by Luc Chamberland. Born Gregory Gallant, Seth has become renowned for his rendering of a poignant private life into sharp and thoughtful graphic tales. Part animation, part live action, Seth’s Dominion is a perceptive documentary which manages to do justice to its incredibly prolific subject. The film sheds light on the artist through insightful biography and immersive animated shorts of his comics. Along with the DVD, Seth’s Dominion includes gloss photos chronicling Seth’s life, as well as excerpts from his extensive body of work. A must have!

Swing Time

Swing Time
by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is back with her fifth novel! Swing Time is in the Szabo and Ferrante tradition, it is a sweeping tale of female friendship gained and lost. The story follows two girls, one talented but troubled and the other with less flair yet driven, as they struggle to grow up and out of the wrong side of town. They both dream of becoming dancers, but only Tracey has the verve to make it her reality. Her counterpart, the unnamed narrator, instead is equipped with the mind and timing to get out of the neighbourhood. She eventually does, leaving everything behind—including her friendship with Tracey—to be the assistant of a famous pop star. Smith’s is a multilayered narrative, as both the plot and her characters’ lives are ruled by competing forces: to celebrate one’s heritage but not be defined by it, to hold a poor single mother in the same light as a glamorous celebrity, to linger in memory while lumbering forward in time. We at D+Q are extremely excited to host Zadie Smith in May of 2017 to converse about her fabulous new novel!

The Palace of Champions

The Palace of Champions
by Henriette Valium

Secretly prolific, obsessive, and considered to be one of the greatest French-Canadian cartoonists: it is hard to believe that The Palace of Champions marks the first English translation of Henriette Valium’s impressive body of work. His style is like being on acid with x-ray vision, like hyperrealism and surrealism went SPLAT! and then rotted. A long time Montrealer, Valium, born Patrick Henley, is among the royalty of the comics underworld, through thirty years his work has appeared in innumerable independent zines, compilations, and catalogues across North America and Europe. The Palace of Champions is a triumph from an artist completely in control of his craft, its zany world is inundated with madness, illness, urban decay. The chaos is both horrific and hilarious, and moments of absolute mayhem are spliced with total clarity. As Valium puts it: “Art is both the raft and the storm.” This edition includes an introduction and an interview, which help decode the bedlam and give context to this artist’s special career.

The Photographer’s Last Picture

The Photographer’s Last Picture
by Sean Howard

Recently arrived from award-winning Gaspereau Press is a new take on the war poem. Sean Howard unearthed photos from a tattered copy of Collier’s Photographic History of the European War (1916) and used them as flint for a roaring poetry, twenty-fold. Howard, an adjunct professor of political science at Cape Breton University, begins each passage with a brief, plainspeak description of the grainy photograph, from there it is a freefall of metaphors and associations regarding history, memory, and the actions and implications of war. The result is simultaneously disorienting and revealing, one is at once plunged into the cold facts and blood-warm sensations of global conflict. The effectiveness of this book is perhaps an indication that we are moving away from traditional interpretations of History, and moving towards a more immersive, and hopefully empathetic, understanding.

Social Medium: Artists Writing, 2000-2015

Social Medium: Artists Writing, 2000-2015
edited by Jennifer Liese

Paper Monument, published by the n+1 foundation, is a non-profit art press that focuses on bringing concise, earnest writing to a wider audience. Reading about art can be frustrating, as it is often marked with shallow glam or academic jargon. Social Medium, a compilation of seventy-five texts written by artists about art, retires the tropes and offers a new slant on the genre. Artists from Greg Allen to Qiu Zhijie reflect on the state of creativity since the dawn of the millennium, and through essays, criticisms, manifestos, fictions, blog posts, diaries, and tweets map a complex terrain of art in the post-internet age.

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other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

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
musician/author interviews
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)

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