In addition to a much-appreciated provincial holiday on Monday, it’s been a quiet week at the press office. Here’s a quick look at what we’ve been up to (and what we’ve been listening to!) since last week.
THE HARD PART IS NOT MAKING A PLAYLIST 400 SONGS LONG
One of our favourite places to read about music and literature on the internet is Largehearted Boy, a blog operated by the steadfast David Gutowski for fourteen years and counting. In addition to Gutowski’s keen eye for music and books, what makes Largehearted Boy special is the sheer breadth of its content. The site features free and legal music downloads; daily music, literature, and popular culture news; book reviews; mixtapes created by authors related to their latest books; reading lists by musicians; soundtrack discussions by directors and composers; and “The Largehearted Boy Cross-Cultural Media Exchange Program,” where authors interview musicians (and vice-versa).
We’re proud to share two playlists by Biblioasis authors featured this week, who are joining the ranks of Anakana Schofield, Bret Easton Ellis, Garth Risk Hallberg, and Eimear McBride. Kathy Page created a playlist for Frankie Styne & the Silver Man, a novel Gutowski called “imaginative and crisply written… one of the creepiest novels I have ever read.” You can stream Kathy’s playlist on Spotify. A few days later, Page’s Biblioasis peer Kevin Hardcastle created a playlist for his debut collection Debris, which Gutowski called “gritty and visceral.” You can stream Kevin’s playlist on Spotify as well.
REVISITING A MONSTER
Speaking of Frankie Styne & the Silver Man, which was recently published for the first time in the US and Canada, author Kathy Page took to her blog this week to answer questions about the book’s origin. Kathy posted a short essay describing the origin of the novel and its recent revision — which was quite substantial. We recommend it especially to those interested in how authors view (and revise) works written at an earlier stage in their careers.
The most recent edition of Quill & Quire arrived in the office this week with a huge review of Ray Robertson’s Lives of the Poets (with Guitars). Adam Nayman was somewhat critical of the selective appeal of the book (it focuses mostly on roots, blues, and gospel), but he concluded on a high note. “The achievement of [Robertson’s] book is that it directs fans and novices alike toward the myriad joys offered up by its subjects,” he wrote, “while also prodding us to think and feel more deeply about the other poets with guitars — or boom boxes or turntables — who lie beyond these pages, in our own personal pantheons.”
OF SCHOFIELD’S PECULIAR DECENCY AND CANDOUR
With the UK release of Martin John, we’re experiencing a pleasant bit of déjà vu as publications overseas rave about the novel as passionately as their North American counterparts did. This week, The Spectator called Martin John “a grown-up tale of how blighted lives carry on … fizzl[ing] with surface humour.” The same day, Eileen Battersby, the famed Irish Times literary correspondent and author who John Banville described as “the finest fiction critic we have,” raved about the novel, calling it “a comic tour de force … many writers have brazenly wandered into the minefield of mental illness, but few with Schofield’s peculiar decency and candour in not only depicting Martin John’s scheming turmoil, but also the bewildered righteousness of those surrounding him.”