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A Short Sad Book still hip at 40


This year Canada turns 150, BC turns 146, and George Bowering‘s postmodern historical detective romance A Short Sad Book turns 40. To mark all these occasions and more we’ve reissued A Short Sad Book with cover art by John Boyle, a brilliantly fun introduction by Erín Moure, and an illuminating afterword by George Bowering himself.

Here’s James W. Woods in the Vancouver Sun on A Short Sad Book’s continued relevance:

A Short Sad Book is a delightful picaresque romp that borrows freely in matters of style from the early 20th-century American experimentalist Gertrude Stein: the spirit of Canadian literature is chased up, down and across the country, sought in vain, with both the author and his readers learning much about what it means to be Canadian in the process. …

This book fairly brims over with invention, from its distinctive spelling and punctuation to its hunger to define, almost by lack of definition, this nation. …

The casual style, jokes and the book’s compact length all conspire to seduce the reader into an impression of levity. Underneath such apparent levity, however, lie many themes as important to Canada today as they were 40 years ago.

A Short Sad Book can be found at bookstores across this country both real and imagined, and at