This post was originally published on Drawn & Quarterly’s blog on April 19th, 2014.
On friday, April 11th, we were delighted to host the launch of two new novels from BookThug: Polyamorous Love Song by Montreal’s own Jacob Wren and Air Carnation by Guadalupe Muro.
The turnout for this one was very big. We had to move more tables than usual to pack everybody in! You can see the crowd starting to file in here. Note Guadalupe pouring water in the front as Aimee Wall affectionately touches Jacob’s face on the right (how cute!).
And who could introduce Jacob Wren better than Jacob Wren? Somewhat sheepishly, he thanked everyone for coming and began to read from his new book, Polyamorous Love Songs.
The first chapter, which he read, is titled “Artists Are Self-Absorbed.” He joked that it was the original title of the book itself, which he eventually decided to change so as not to alienate his audience. “If artists won’t read my books,” he quipped, “who will?” Like Jacob himself, the chapter he read was subtly self-deprecating, reflexive, honest, imaginative, and intelligent, mixing conversational philosophy with absurd dream sequences and constant self-interrogation. As you can imagine from that description, it’s part fiction, part not, and Jacob spends a lot of time puzzling about how one turns into the other.
After an introduction by Jacob, Guadalupe Muro (who came all the way from Argentina) climbed to the stage to read selections from her new book, Air Carnation. It started as tentative letters (in English) to an American lover she was leaving behind after a trip and became (to her initial surprise) an entire book in a tongue not her own. Bitterwseet and intimate, the parts of Air Carnation that Guadalupe read mostly recounted her childhood and young loves.
In between stories, Guadalupe also invited her brother Julian and her friend Anna to the stage to perform original music from “Songs for Runaway Girls”, the “soundtrack” to Air Carnation. Some of their songs were acapella and the others were all spare and haunting and a bit sexy. (Listen to them here). In the picture, Guadalupe is flipping the pages of her book as percussion — it sounded kind of like brushed drums.
The signing afterwards was very lively! Thanks again to everyone who came.