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New Tab: A Novel Paperback – Apr 1 2014
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About the Author
Guillaume Morissette is the author of I Am My Own Betrayal (Maison Kasini, 2012). His work has appeared in Maisonneuve Magazine, carte-blanche, Little Brother Magazine, Metazen, ThoughtCatalog, HTMLGiant and many other publications. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.
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“New Tab” (Véhicule Press, 2014) offers a wonderful psychological characterization of characters that makes them completely believable and lovable. Realism also defines the protagonist’s “love story” with a younger girl, a desultory literary fanzine editor who is still trapped in a previous relationship of dependency. Few contemporary love stories I have found so poignant as this one, told by Guillaume Morissette, this new writter associated with the emergence of the Alt Lit scene in Canada. My identification with the characters has been tremendous, thanks to its particular wisdom to perceive and transmit the doubts, the fears, the absurd, the innocence and helplessness of our lives in the second decade of the century. Morissette is author of the miscellany of prose and poetry, “I Am My Own Betrayal” (2012) and has published in numerous digital media.
The whole thing felt very derivative tho. I feel like I already read this book when it was called Taipei, except the post-modern mechanics of that book were much more conscious, and its ambling purpose felt more intentional. I'm getting really tired of books that don't have an ending. I feel like this is a trend that is a conscious aggression against meta-narratives in excess of a post-modern type. Post-modernism began to deconstruct the meta-narrative, and post-post-modernism is stripping parts of it away.
The autobiographical nature of this book (alluded to, if not stated expressly) was even an element in the story itself, and it made me feel uncomfortable. I'm not sure how I feel about a literary genre where every element is a blog turned into a story. This book made me too upset on a cognitive level to recommend readily, I think. I'm worried about this formula of novel generation on a more global level--the trend seems to be that the author should engage in life situations that can then be translated into some semblance of a narrative. The only conflict is natural and emergent, and therefore almost non-existent. This is a reflexively bleak view of the enterprise of writing as a whole, and it makes me upset and frustrated and sad. I could argue about whether that's the goal of this book, but I didn't want it to make me sad in the way that it did, and even tho I'm aware that no one puts a work of art into the world with the intent to make people dislike it, I feel my reaction is justifiable.
In the process of writing this review, I think I have determined my rating for this book as a two. I feel bad that I am not rating it higher, as the main character, derivative of the author, seemed like a nice person I can sympathize with and that I want to succeed. I don't feel comfortable with the repercussions a low rating might potentially have on other people's interest in reading this book--but, I feel committed to expressing myself in the same way the main character did, a la his Faulkner quotation.
I would like to read more of Guillaume Morissette's work. I will probably read his poems next.
I also feel bad because this book was short, and I like short books. I hope the book, and the author, don't dislike me because of what I felt about the book. I'm sorry.