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Pantone announced two colours for 2021—Ultimate Gray and Illuminating—so naturally we’ve gathered book covers to match.
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A Tristram Shandy–esque novella about failing memory and failed writing, from one of French Canada’s most exciting new voices.
A young, floundering author meets Robert ‘Baloney’ Lacerte, an older, marginal poet who seems to own nothing beyond his unwavering certainty. Over the course of several evenings, Lacerte recounts his unrelenting quest for poetry, which has taken him from Quebec’s Boreal forests to South America to East Montreal, where he seems poised to disappear without a trace. But as the blocked writer discovers, Lacerte might just be full of it.
‘[Bock’s] deeply original writing always seeks out the mot juste, then sculpts them into sentences that describe the slightest variations of human emotions in spectacular complexity, harnessing the power of form, rhythm, and sound.’
—Mario Cloutier, La Presse (translated fromthe French)
‘Books are dangerous. They call into question the order of things, turn the world upside down to get a better sense of it and shake the dust off the lenses we look through. […] No one can say where this book by Maxime Raymond Bock will take us. It’s an incandescent plea for the latent powers of literature, something like a necessity.’
—JÃ©rÃ©my Laniel, Spirale (translated from the French)
Praise for Atavisms:
‘Crackles with the energy of a QueÃ©bÃ©cois folk song, impassioned and celebratory but also melancholy and cheekily ironic … As in BolaÃ±o’s work, narrative itself is often the subject; stories are folded within other stories and narrators are constantly asserting their presence … Like BolaÃ±o, Bock alternates between rage, sorrow, protest, and dark comedy, and the two writers share a sense of urgency –of writing against time as much as about it.’
—Pasha Malla, The New Yorker
This extraordinary graphic novel is a powerful denunciation of sexual violence against women. As seen through the eyes of a twelve-year-old girl named Una, it takes place in northern England in 1977, as the Yorkshire Ripper, a serial killer of prostitutes, is on the loose and creating panic among the townspeople. As the police struggle in their clumsy attempts to find the killer, and the headlines in the local paper become more urgent, a once self-confident Una teaches herself to “lower her gaze” in order to deflect attention from boys.
After she is “slut-shamed” at school for having birth control pills, Una herself is the subject of violent acts for which she comes to blame herself. But as the police finally catch up with and identify the killer, Una grapples with the patterns of behaviour that led her to believe she was to blame.
Becoming Unbecoming combines various styles, press clippings, photo-based illustrations, and splashes of colour to convey young Una’s sense of confusion and rage, as well as sobering statistics on sexual violence against women. The book is a no-holds-barred indictment of sexual violence against women and the shame and blame of its victims that also celebrates the empowerment of those able to gain control over their selves and their bodies.
From award-winning author Alisha Piercy comes Bunny and Shark, a middle-aged coming-of-age story-cum-shark-adventure that reveals and celebrates women’s power in the trenches. Plunging into the first thirteen days after the ‘bastard’ pushes his ex-Playboy wife ‘Bunny’ over a cliff in the Caribbean, Bunny and Shark is a fable about island survival, and the perils and potentials of being exiled from one’s identity.
Literally lost at sea, Bunny is fueled by the miracle of having been saved from sharks by a band of dolphins. And her continued survival depends on her ability to become a spiritual extension of the landscape: she is the mood of the ocean at night as she swims blindly in it, and the protective coolness of the jungle by day as she recovers from a loss of limb; the close-walled refuge of the sailboats anchored in the harbour, and the sparkling deck of an opulent superyacht when, transformed, she makes a triumphant return to her former world.
Introducing one of the great heroines of contemporary fiction, Bunny and Shark takes readers on a voyage intense with abandon and illumination, in a story that invokes more than a little bit of magic in the telling.
It’s business as usual at the residence of Titus and his motley crew. Champagne baths, reckless scientific experimentations, casual littering. It’s all fun and games, until their house decides it has had enough and goes looking for a better life… leaving the gang without a place to call theirown! Will Titus and his friends find a new home, or convince their old one to come back?
Thom shows an ever-growing mastery of visual storytelling in this brilliant follow-up to his 2017 debut VII. Once again eschewing words altogether, the Montréal-based author channels the chaotic yet precise slapstick of Chuck Jones’ Looney Tunes while infusing it with a subtle sense of existential dread. Casa Rodeo is about finding one’s place in the world, both literally and figuratively.
Daughter of Here is an experiment in memory, desire, and time. As she sifts through an international whirlwind romance with Célestin, her larger-than-life love for her daughter Mo, and her own childhood behind the Iron Curtain, Dolores’s narrative shifts from Williamsburg, to Tokyo, to Bucharest before and after the fall, and to Cairo at the first spark of the Arab Spring. Filmic and thought-provoking, this novel straddles the political and the personal with ease and eloquence.
Keepers of the Faith is set within a small Muslim sect of India, ruled by an avaricious priesthood that demands absolute submission while enforcing archaic social customs. When a section of the community rebels, it is summarily excommunicated, shunned by friends and family and denied religious rites. The peaceful community is split into two.
The novel follows the fates of two blissful young lovers, Akbar and Rukhsana, in the historic city of Udaipur. When the communal split occurs, their families are on opposite sides; the lovers’ dream of a happy life together is shattered, and they are forced into separate destinies. Akbar, from the rebel group, goes on to become a writer and family man in Mumbai, while Rukhsana gets married to an immigrant engineer from the United States fanatically devoted to the priesthood.
Years later, Akbar’s and Rukhsana’s paths cross again. Much has changed and much has not, and they are presented with soul-destroying choices about the rest of their lives.
After a year of radio silence, Ella bursts back into the lives of her former roommates, Jen and Lucie. Her intentions seem simple enough: she wants to mend fences and regain their trust. But it won’t be that easy. Lonely Boys is a story of friendship, sisterhood and self-affirmation. It captures life at twenty-something as three young women navigate the challenges of work, sex and romantic relationships, all the while trying to hold on to the connection they share despite the hurt it carries.
What can be done about the friendships that are bound to break your heart?
Faldistoire’s grandfather thinks he’s a ghost. Sylvie’s mother reads tarot and summons stormclouds to mete her witch’s justice. Behind his Dad of the Year demeanour, Sébastien’s father hides dark designs. It’s Croustine’s grandfather who makes the boy a pair of slippers from the dead family dog, but it’s his father, the cannily-named Kevin Lambert, who always seems to be nearby when tragedy strikes, and in the cemetery, under the baleful eyes of toads, small graves are dug one after the other: Chicoutimi, Quebec, is a dangerous place for children. But these young victims of rape, arbitrary violence, and senseless murder keep coming back from the dead. They return to school, explore their sexualities, keep tabs on grown-up sins—and plot their apocalyptic retribution.
Surreal and darkly comic, this debut novel by Kevin Lambert, one of the most celebrated and controversial writers to come out of Quebec in recent memory, takes the adult world to task—and then takes revenge.