Wigrum

By (author): Daniel Canty

Translated by: Oana Avasilichioaei

It’s October 1944. During a brief respite from the aerial bombardment of London, Sebastian Wigrum absconds from his small flat and disappears into the fog for a walk in the Unreal City. This is our first and only encounter with the enigmatic man we come to discover decades later through more than one hundred everyday objects he has left behind. Wigrum’s bequest is a meticulously catalogued collection of the profoundly ordinary: a camera, some loose teeth, candies and keys, soap, bits of string, hazelnuts, and a handkerchief. Moving through the inventory artifact to artifact, story to story, we become immersed in a dreamlike narrative bricolage determined as much by the objects’ museological presentation as by the tender and idiosyncratic mania of Wigrum’s impulse to collect them.
With its traces of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, and Georges Perec, Daniel Canty’s graphically arresting Wigrum explores the limits of the postmodern novel. Having absorbed the logic of lists and the principles of classification systems, the Wigrumian narrative teeters on the boundary between fact and fiction, on the uncertain edge of the real and the unreal.
Readers venturing into Sebastian Wigrum’s cabinet of curiosities must abide only the following maxim: If I can believe all the stories I am told, so can you.

AUTHOR

Daniel Canty

Daniel Canty is a Montréal-based writer and film director who works in literature, film, theatre and design, and new media. Canty collaborated with the pioneering multimedia studio DNA Media in Vancouver, and directed the inaugural issues of Horizon Zero, the Banff New Media Institute’s website on the digital arts in Canada. Canty’s first book, Êtres Artificiels (Liber, 1997), is a history of automata in American literature. From 2002 to 2005, Canty co-directed the poetry magazine C’est Selon. He has devised three award-winning collaborative books: Cité selon (2006), on the city; La Table des Matières (2007), on eating; and Le Livre de Chevet (2009), on sleeping. He has also translated books of poetry by Stephanie Bolster, Erin Moure, Charles Simic, and Michael Ondaatje. Canty has directed several short films. His latest, Longuay (2012), melds the gaze of an ancient French abbey with that of a tablet computer. His Cinema for the Blind (2010) lets the audience slip into oneiric depths behind the cinema screen. Canty also conceives poetic interfaces for the Web and live interaction. He built Bruire (2013), an architectural poetry-reciting machine, and wrote the libretto for Operator (2012), an alphanumeric automata by Mikko Hynninen presented at Lux Helsinki.

AUTHOR

Oana Avasilichioaei

Montreal-based writer, translator, and editor Oana Avasilichioaei has published five poetry collections, including Expeditions of a Chimæra (with Erín Moure; 2009), We, Beasts (2012; winner of the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry from the Quebec Writers’ Federation) and Limbinal (2015). Previous translations include Bertrand Laverdure’s Universal Bureau of Copyrights (2014; shortlisted for the 2015 ReLit Awards), Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa (co-translated with Ingrid Pam Dick; 2015), and Daniel Canty’s Wigrum (2013).


Reviews

“This is a new novel genre. An inventory! … The inventory is a list of more or less fantastic objects – sometimes computer-based, electronic, historical, or purely useless – but each finds its place in this collection for one reason or another. In the last part of the book, Daniel Canty mixes fact and fiction, deconstructing our vain attempts to discover the truth. Unique and very exciting!”
– Shannon Desbiens, Les Bouquinistes


“In Wigrum, the reader should expect plenty of humour and a very special cabinet of curiosities. This most original work is difficult to characterize as a novel. Rather, it takes a truly literary approach that will satisfy the curious reader.”
– Mélanie Robert, Voir


Awards

  • Alcuin Award for Book Design in Canada ( Fiction category) 2014, Short-listed
  • Grafika Grand Prize (Typography) 2012, Winner
  • Excerpts & Samples ×

    It’s October 1944. During a brief respite from the aerial bombardment of London, Sebastian Wigrum absconds from his small flat and disappears into the fog for a walk in the Unreal City. This is our first and only encounter with the enigmatic man we come to discover decades later through more than one hundred everyday objects he has left behind. Wigrum’s bequest is a meticulously catalogued collection of the profoundly ordinary: a camera, some loose teeth, candies and keys, soap, bits of string, hazelnuts, and a handkerchief. Moving through the inventory artifact to artifact, story to story, we become immersed in a dreamlike narrative bricolage determined as much by the objects’ museological presentation as by the tender and idiosyncratic mania of Wigrum’s impulse to collect them.
    With its traces of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, and Georges Perec, Daniel Canty’s graphically arresting Wigrum explores the limits of the postmodern novel. Having absorbed the logic of lists and the principles of classification systems, the Wigrumian narrative teeters on the boundary between fact and fiction, on the uncertain edge of the real and the unreal.
    Readers venturing into Sebastian Wigrum’s cabinet of curiosities must abide only the following maxim: If I can believe all the stories I am told, so can you.

    Reader Reviews

    Details

    Dimensions:

    200 Pages
    9in * 229mm * 6in * 152mm * 0.5625in14mm
    340gr
    12oz

    Published:

    October 15, 2013

    City of Publication:

    Vancouver

    Country of Publication:

    CA

    Publisher:

    Talonbooks

    ISBN:

    9780889227781

    9780889227798 – EPUB

    9781772014921 – EPUB

    9780889229433 – EPUB

    Book Subjects:

    FICTION / Literary

    Featured In:

    All Books

    Language:

    eng

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