Who hasn't, at one time or another, considered killing a billionaire?
Following on the critical success of his novel Polyamorous Love Song (BookThug, 2014; finalist for the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and one of The Globe and Mail's 100 best books of 2014), Canadian writer and performer Jacob Wren picks up the mantle of the politically and economically disenfranchised in Rich and Poor--the story of a middle-class, immigrant pianist who has fallen on hard times, and now finds himself washing dishes to make ends meet.
Wren capably balances personal reflections with real-time political events, as his protagonist awakens to the possibility of a solution to his troubles and begins to formulate a plan of attack, in which the only answer is to get rid of "the 1%. "
Rich and Poor is rare work of literary fiction that cuts into the psychology of politics in ways that are off-kilter, unexpected, and unnerving. In drawing comparisons to fiction that focuses on "the personal as political" (including Chris Kraus's Summer of Hate and Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives), Rich and Poor is a compelling, fast-paced, and energizing read for adventure-seeking, politically active and/or interested readers who rowdily question their position among "the 99%. "
Jacob Wren makes literature, performances, and exhibitions. His books include Families Are Formed Through Copulation (2007), Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed (2010), and Polyamorous Love Song (BookThug, 2014; finalist for the 2013 Fence Modern Prize in Prose and one of The Globe and Mail's 100 best books of 2014). Wren's latest book, Rich and Poor, is forthcoming from BookThug in the spring of 2016. As co-artistic director of Montréal-based interdisciplinary group PME-ART, Wren has co-created the performances: En français comme en anglais, it's easy to criticize (1998), Individualism Was A Mistake (2008), The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information (2011), and Every Song I've Ever Written (2012). Wren travels internationally with alarming frequency and frequently writes about contemporary art. Connect with him on his blog (www.radicalcut.blogspot.com) or on Twitter @everySongIveEve.
Praise for Rich and Poor:
"As with Wren's previous work, Rich and Poor is art in resistance, a work that dares to remind us of our capacity for revolutionary love despite the prevailing economic system's structural violence. " --Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail
"Wren's new novel, Rich and Poor, is more than a critique of capitalism and profit-obsessed society. It's a parable examining corporate culture - the way it makes us calculating, unscrupulous and ultimately disposable. " --The Toronto Star
"Rich and Poor is a populist parable for our polarized times. " --Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette
"Stoic yet provocative, Rich and Poor plunges the reader into a deep psychology of activism, politics, business, and how they all mesh together. " --Largehearted Boy
"Rich and Poor is a timely and well-considered story. There are plenty of surprising moments. ...as well as real insights into issues of wealth inequality that so often dominate the headlines. " --Mark Sampson, Quill and Quire
"The dream of a Marxist revolution is alive and well in Rich and Poor. " --Dan Twerdochlib, The Winnipeg Review
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