Try Something Different: KNAUSGAÅRD and NEUMAN

by Tyler Vitt - Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 2:31pm

"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."
- Haruki Murakami

This article was written by our very own Chris Hall, and appeared in the March/April issue of our news magazine, The Bookseller. Access a digital edition of the news mag here.

Norway's Karl Ove Knausgaård has undertaken one of the most interesting literary projects in recent years. He's written a cycle of six novels called My Struggle, and what's interesting about it is that the story he tells is completely and intimately his own. In other words, it is a kind of memoir. But it's a memoir that details (and I mean details) periods of his own life as well as his family and friends in books that he calls novels. When does a memoir become a novel? For me it's in the minutiae because he can't possibly remember his own past in so much detail. Because as a reader I have no idea what he remembers, I don't know where the fiction meets the nonfiction.

And that raises all kinds of questions about the two concepts that we normally consider so distinct. When his father dies are we allowed to think of it symbolically? How do we generate meaning from our lives and how is that different from how we find meaning in the fiction we read? I can't stop thinking about it. The same goes for Zadie Smith, apparently, since she gave the work one of the best blurbs I've ever seen: "It's unbelievable," she says, "I need the next volume like crack. It's completely blown my mind." The cycle starts with A Death in the Family and continues with A Man in Love, both available now. Volume three, Boyhood Island, releases in late April with the others following thereafter.

Another author to watch hails from Argentina. His name is Andrés Neuman. A few years ago he wrote a novel called Traveler of the Century. In it a young man arrives in Wandernberg, a city in southern Germany with an indeterminate location due to its shifting coordinates. Our hero, who fancies himself an experienced traveller, finds that he is forever getting lost and swears that the city's layout changes slightly each day. He meets and befriends various characters including an old organ grinder, a Spanish businessman, and an enchanting young lady named Sophie. And then he finds he cannot leave. The first part of the book reads like a traditional 19th century novel with lots of philosophy and intelligent conversation. As you progress through the book, however, it becomes more and more clear, both in style and content, that this novel was written in the twenty-first century. The resulting compression in time makes us aware that we look at history through the lens of our own time and vice-versa. Hence it puts the reader in the position of the traveller in the title.

Fascinating stuff. None other than the great Roberto Bolano said of Neuman: "The literature of the twenty-first century will belong to [him] and a few of his blood brothers."

In April, Neuman's new novel, Talking to Ourselves, arrives and I can't wait to see what he's up to next.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, New Releases, Newsletter

Poetry, a breath of Spring

by Tyler Vitt - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 5:30pm

Happy Poetry Month! Celebrate it with some of these recently released poetry books:

> Known for shining the light of poetic curiosity, Winnipeg's Alison Calder (winner of two Manitoba Book Awards and a finalist for both the Gerald Lampert Award and the Pat Lowther Award for Canadian poetry) explores the ways we feel our way through new experiences in her second collection, In the Tiger Park.

> Award-winning Manitoba poet Dennis Cooley takes the reader through the historical developments of the alphabet in abecedarium. Lovers of experimental poetry and those interested in linguistic play or the history of language will relish Cooley's latest collection.

> In her debut collection of poetry, Manitoba's Luann Hiebert peers at the undercurrents of family and relationships. In an age where secrecy and privacy seem to have fallen by the wayside, What Lies Behind looks at the facades we maintain in our daily lives.

> Melissa Morelli Lacroix explores the love and longing, loss and pain, grief and healing found in the music of Frederic Chopin, Clara Schumann, and Claude Debussy in A Most Beautiful Deception, a series of poetic cycles that respond to each composer's work.

> With healthy humour and a wicked sense of ownership, Not The First Thing I've Missed by Saskatoon's Fionncara MacEoin captures the debris and encumbrances when hope and doubt collide. This is MacEoin's first book of poetry.

This article appeared in the March/April issue of our news magazine, The Bookseller. You can access an online version of the news mag for free here, or pick up a free printed copy within our stores.

Categories: Poetry, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, New Releases

The Manitoba Book Awards are coming

by Tyler Vitt - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 2:51pm

The 2013 Manitoba Book Awards are almost upon us!

This Sunday, April 27th, the awards will be given out and celebrated at the Book Awards Gala in the West End Cultural Centre. Doors open at 6:30 pm, the ceremonies begin at 7:00 pm, and admission is FREE.

To see the 2013 nominees, click here. Or to read more details on the Manitoba Book Awards, you can visit their website.

Categories: Awards, Winnipeg

The Hugo Awards: 2014 and 1939 nominees

by Tyler Vitt - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 5:23pm

The nominees of this year's Hugo Awards were announced over the weekend. Of particular note is the Best Novel category:

    > Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
    > Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross
    > Parasite by Mira Grant
    > Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia
    > The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Note: The Wheel of Time series was nominated as and ruled to be a multi-part serialized single work, as defined in Section 3.2.4 of the WSFS constitution.

But of course there are more than just novels involved with the Hugo Awards. You can see the complete list of 2014 categories and nominees here.

Also announced on the weekend were the 1939 Retro-Hugo Awards nominees, which are (as you can see) honouring science-fiction work from 75 years ago. This is only the fourth time that Retro-Hugo Awards have been honoured.

Stay tuned in mid-August as the winners of all the award categories are announced!

Categories: Awards, Saskatoon, Winnipeg

Classical Recording of the Week: Schumann: The Symphonies by Yannick Nezet-Seguin

by Tyler Vitt - Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 10:02am

In partnership with Winnipeg's Classic 107, we're proud to present our Classical CD of the Week...

Yannick Nezet-Seguin's Schumann: The Symphonies

For these revelatory performances -- captured live at acclaimed concerts in Paris -- Yannick conducts the superb Chamber Orchestra of Europe, one of the world's preeminent chamber orchestras.

This new cycle includes the second, revised version of Schumann's second symphony, published as his Symphony No.4.

Look for our Classical CD of the Week display in the Music section of our Grant Park store to pick up a copy!

Categories: Music, Winnipeg, Classic107
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