Friday, December 17, 2010
Over at Douglas Glover's online web-magazine Numero Cinq Thirsty readers can find a new full-length work from Mike Barnes, a novella -- though I don't think this word fully captures what is up there: part memoir, part fiction, part philosophical and psychological disquisition, part ... -- called Ideas of Reference. A powerful, surreal shotgunned kaleidoscope, dealing with madness and memory, leaping off into areas the Lily Pond only explored peripherally. Anyone who read and enjoyed that book should take a look at this, destined, I am sure, to one day make some future Barnes' collection. For now, read and enjoy.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Have you been feeling shut out of CanLit for the last twenty years? Have you given up hope in the contemporary CannedLit novel? In a particularly combative mood? Well, according to Mark Sampson, the man behind Free Range Reading, A.J. Somerset's Combat Camera might just be the book for you and the anti-sentimentalist, disgruntled (likely male) reader in your life. And with Christmas coming....
Probably a good idea to let Mark take it from here:
Attention holiday shoppers: if you’re looking for a great gift this year for the man on your list who may have given up hope on the contemporary novel, a man who has felt a little shut out of the Canadian literary conversation over the last few decades, a man who has been looking for a book that explores the surprisingly complex inner world of one of his tortured and taciturn brethren, then A.J. Somerset may have the perfect gift idea for you.
Somerset’s novel Combat Camera, winner of this past year’s Metcalf-Rooke Award, is as raw and rugged as Canadian books come. It tells the story of Lucas Zane, a former combat photojournalist burnt out after 20 years of covering some of the world’s most violent wars, who has been reduced to taking pictures for low-budget porn in Toronto. Despite the trauma and hopelessness that permeates his current situation, Zane soon finds himself roped into rescuing one of the set’s young starlets (who goes by the name Melissa) after a sex scene turns violent. The two flee on a road trip to Vancouver – a journey that forces them to confront the violence and failures of their respective lives as well as the complex relationship they have with each other.
Make no mistake – Combat Camera is not for the lighthearted, despite the infusions of pink on its cover. This novel is relentlessly masculine and offers an unflinching look at violence, sex and the inglorious torment of a traumatized person. I cannot think of a single character from Canadian literature quite like Lucas Zane – a man whose inner tumults are at such odds with the reserved, aloof persona he presents to the exterior world.
For the full review, and it is a good one, please go here.