Karlinsky book launch

Book Launch – October 28

Come to the launch of Harry Karlinsky’s first novel!

evolutionThe Evolution of Inanimate Objects:
The Life and Collected Works of Thomas Darwin (1857-1879)
Published by Insomniac Press

Thursday, October 28th
7:00 to 9:00 pm

Reading begins at 7:30 pm
Introduction by editor Anne Stone

Coffee and dessert will be served.

RSVP to library@jccgv.bc.ca

Jewish Community Centre (JCC)
2nd Floor
Isaac Waldman Library

950 West 41st Ave (at Oak)
604-257-5111 ext 249

Large parking lot attached to the JCC entrance
off 41st Avenue

Praise for The Evolution of Inanimate Objects:

“An incredible work of the imagination. A revolutionary novel.”
Lee Henderson, author of The Man Game and The Broken Record Technique.

“The Evolution of Inanimate Objects invites us to surrender, for a few hours, the distinction between biography and fiction, reason and delusion, the organic and the contrived–and what sly fun ensues!”
Joan Thomas, author of Curiosity and Reading by Lightning

“Harry Karlinsky has produced an extraordinary artifact, a novel disguised as closely researched history, so carefully constructed and convincingly made that we believe in the sad, amusing, story as if it were fact. The book is wonderfully imagined; it is a romp, a mine of information, and a refined pleasure.”
Dr. Vivian M. Rakoff, Professor Emeritus, Dept of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

“This fascinating historical narrative succeeds not only in creating a convincing nineteenth century British-Canadian psychiatric milieu peopled by engaging characters, but also in delivering incisive comment — often satirical — on important themes and issues.”
Dr. Paul Potter, History of Medicine, University of Western Ontari

“A radical novel that, among other things, vividly recreates Dr. R.M. Bucke, one of Canadian history’s true eccentrics.”
George Fetherling, author and editor of more than 50 books, including Walt Whitman’s Secret

“I was completely taken by the story. It is a compelling read that takes the reader into another historical dimension, and suspends belief. The unlikely story of the evolution of cutlery even becomes plausible. In brief, it is a good and captivating read, solidly set within an historical context of great interest.”
Dr. Keith Benson, an historian of biology and past Principal of Green College at University of British Columbia

Demers on Books Rational

Last Thursday, I had a chance to interview Charles Demers, whose book The Prescription Errors is the lastest Wayside Editions title at Insomniac Press. He was (of course) an awesome interview. Earlier this month, when interviewed at This Magazine‘s blog, he had this to say:

“I know one thing I wanted was to write about an intelligent person who doesn’t have money; usually, the kinds of characters who get to have existential worries are middle-class types, while working-class people deal with external challenges, say, oppression by social and natural phenomena.”

We get into class and representation towards the end of the interview — a subject that there’s so much more to say about.

You can hear my interview with Demers below (or subscribe to “Books Rational” through Itunes, and also get older interviews with Hiromi Goto, Aaron Peck, & others).

Charles Demers’ double book launch

The latest Wayside Edition / Insomniac Press title is about to be launched. Charles Demers impressive debut, the Prescription Errors, is out now (locally, you can pick it up at People’s Coop, though of course amazon and others have it too). For a peek at the novel, look here or pick up the latest issue of Matrix (he’s featured in the Vancouver Dossier). For a glimpse of Demers’ thinking, you can read THIS interview, or tune into Coop Radio’s Arts Rational (102.7) on Thursday November 12th sometime between 9 & 10 to hear him interviewed.

errorsHere is the advanced praise:

“Charles Demers writes wittily, unguardedly, and often downright scandalously, until he arrives, in The Prescription Errors, with a novel that is as much about an individual’s uneasy condition as it is about a society’s deeper illness. Read this book if you’re prepared for fiction’s equivalent to a raucous stand-up performance, if you’re prepared for a merciless send-up of social pieties, and most of all, if you’re prepared to confront and enjoy the strangest of symptoms.”— David Chariandy

The Prescription Errors is a thoughtful, hilarious and deeply engaged novel. Charles Demers’ many obsessions make for compulsive reading.” — John K. Samson

“An impressive debut in fiction.” — George Fetherling

“With this book, Charles Demers has written a complicated love letter to Vancouver. The Prescription Errors is as filled with debilitating insecurities, troubled relationship histories and affirmation of the power of community as the city itself. I read it on a trip and it made me homesick for the city I so love/hate.”— Morgan Brayton

specialDemers will also be launching a book of non-fiction, Vancouver Special (Arsenal), which is highly anticipated. Oh, and there’ll be refreshments, short readings from each book and, of course, books for sale!

Cafe Rhizome,
317 East Broadway (just east of Kingsway),
Thursday November 26th, 7:30 p.m.

Book talk with Sampirisi and Peck

This past Thursday, I dropped into Co-op Radio’s Arts Rational: Thursdays, 9-10 p.m. on CFRO 102.7. (Who better to talk books with visiting writers than a sleep-deprived new mom?)

Host Megan Turnbull and I interviewed Jenny Sampirisi and Aaron Peck about their debut novels. (I got fancy and, after downloading and parsing the archive, pasted together some freeware sound effects, creating a little sound-scape introduction for such episodes — ahh, the things one can accomplish when baby sleeps).

Launch of is/was by Jenny Sampirisi

If you are in the Toronto area, you’ll want to attend the launch of Jenny Sampirisi’s debut novel, is/was (Insomniac Press, 2008).

Sampirisi is the second writer I’ve edited for the Wayside/Serotonin imprint (shared with JP Fiorentino). This is a tight, dense, and complex work, lovely in its use of language, and frightening in its implications. Read this book. The launch will feature Sampirisi reading from her novel, as well as an interview conducted by Jude MacDonald (the author of Grey: Stories and Jane — another highly recommended book).

iswas.jpgABOUT THE BOOK:

Set in the media-saturated 1980s, when images of missing children first occupied the public imagination, is/was explores one town’s complex emotional reaction to the brutal rape and murder of a child within its bounds.

It is October 1983 and eight-year-old Abigail Wren has gone missing from a tiny Ontario town. In the crosscuts and fragments of each day’s news, word of the abduction filters into the troubled Fitch family household. Roland Fitch becomes unhinged by long kept secrets, while his wife Eva, turns inwards, tracing the aftermath of her own surgically precise loss. In the days and weeks following Abigail Wren’s death, the Fitch children, Andrew and Isabel, are increasingly left to parent themselves. As the already tenuous boundaries between family members are slowly effaced, once solid definitions – of the child, the adult, and the body – come unmoored.

At its core, is/was is an unflinching meditation set at the very edge of human limits. Boundaries of language, media, and the body itself transform to hold the complex currents of lust and absence. This investigative first novel is never reductive, but with subtlety and nuance, unfolds the terrible trajectory of loss.


is/was is a shattering portrait of the psychological effects on one family of sudden and inexplicable violence. Jenny Sampirisi evokes dissociated states of mind and blocked communication with impressive precision. Tuned in to the body and its almost alternate life, this narrative pulls the reader into the gradually unfolding suspense of suspended knowing.
— Daphne Marlatt, author of Taken and Ana Historic

is/was explores loss in its immensity, but it rivets us, always, to its world of details. To the micro-rituals of conduct during periods of duress. To the concreteness of words on the page and the capillary routes of the sentence. Jenny Sampirisi is at once a marvelously fearless and disciplined writer.
— David Chariandy, author of Soucouyant

In the Canadian experimental lineage of Atom Egoyan’s film Exotica, Lynn Crosbie’s poetry Missing Children and Gail Scott’s novel Main Brides, this searing story of a bereft family at its core searches to reunite pain’s palimpsest with its fleshed healing. Sampirisi keenly makes us ache for a renewed stab at what was and can be.
— Margaret Christakos, author of Excessive Love Prosthesis and What Stirs

Jenny Sampirisi is a poet, prose writer and editor. She is the managing editor for BookThug and facilitates the online vispo journal, Other Cl/utter. She teaches English at Ryerson University where she runs the Ryerson Reading Series. She is also an executive member of the Scream Literary Festival. Her first novel, is/was (Insomniac Press 2008) explores the flexible boundaries of language, media, and the body.

Jude MacDonald is the author of Jane (1999) and Grey: Stories for Grown-Ups (2001) and the editor of section15.ca.

Launches in Montreal and Vancouver

Tonight, Louis Rastelli launches his new novel A Fine Ending (Insomniac Press, 2007). Louis has been doing amazing cultural work out of Montreal for many many years (distroboto, Expozine, Fish Piss). Last spring, Jon Paul Fiorentino (who was the editor of my novel Delible) suggested that we trade off on the fiction imprint he had at Insomniac. So, springtime sees the launch of a book out with Fiorentino’s imprint, Serotonin, and the fall sees the launch of a book out with mine, Wayside Editions.

My plan with Wayside Editions is to focus on exciting first books. Louis was the first of these, and I’m very happy to see this long over-due book come into existence. When I approached him last spring, I had his shorts in mind, those lovely little “true stories” books he’d put out over the 90s, like “Fly vs. Kitten.” Louis, though, had something more ambitious in mind and from the stories I loved and some I hadn’t yet seen, wove together a wonderful novel. If you’re in or around Montreal, don’t miss this launch.

October 23rd.
6 to 10 p.m. (followed by special guest DJs)
Casa del Popolo
4873 St. Laurent

The Montreal Review of Books has a big profile of Louis and his book. Check it out.

If you’re in Vancouver, though, you might want to drop by Spartacus at 7 p.m. and hear Reg Johanson, Larissa Lai, Lora McElhinney, Sachiko Murakami, and Renee Rodin. They’ll be reading as part of the launch of West Coast Line 53: Representations of Murdered and Missing Women.

As for the imprint, next fall will see the publication of a brilliant and experimental novel by Jenny Sampirisi. Can’t wait.