New Star Blogs

While we were out


View­ers at home can be excused for think­ing that New Star Books had gone to ground in some way over the sum­mer, as our live­ly and infor­ma­tive news site went all-qui­et-like.  As explained in The Yel­low Tri­an­gle, it was only our web host that was e-mail­ing it in.  In the real-world back­ground, the Autonomous Work­ers at New Star Books were work­ing as hard as ants.  Most impor­tant­ly, we were get­ting a cou­ple of books to press, both of which were released in Sep­tem­ber.

Roger Farr’s I Am a City Still But Soon I Shan’t Be (the title repur­pos­es a line of Bertolt Brecht’s) is a sin­gle long poem, in nine can­tos, The poem takes the read­er on a vir­tu­al tour of the mod­ern city, rep­re­sent­ed here by Van­cou­ver, New York, Berlin, and Nanaimo.  Informed by anarchism’s insights into the human sub­ject under con­tem­po­rary con­di­tions,  Farr’s poem, with its echoes of Eliot and Dante, con­fronts the bruise marks left by cap­i­tal­ism and its tech­no­log­i­cal trustees.

Roger Farr’s sole appear­ance in sup­port of his new book was at the offi­cial launch, which took place on Octo­ber 16 at the feisty People’s Co-op Book­store.  Since then, he’s been chan­nel­ing his inner B. Tra­ven, hun­ker­ing down in his Gabri­o­la Island com­pound, refus­ing all inter­views, so that he can focus on his next book, a revis­it­ing of the work of 15th cen­tu­ry bad-boy French poet François Vil­lonI Am a City Still But Soon I Shan’t Be is avail­able from Spar­ta­cus Books, READ Books, Capi­lano Uni­ver­si­ty Book­store, the People’s Co-op Book­store, and oth­er book­shops.

Also released in Sep­tem­ber was Shot Rock, the third nov­el by Win­nipeg-born-and-raised, now Barcelona-res­i­dent Michael Trege­bov.  A sto­ry that describes an aspect of the city’s vibrant Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty cir­ca ear­ly 1970s, Shot Rock tells the sto­ry of a group of old friends, inspired by the Trostky­ist tac­tics — and pas­sion — of the son of one of their mem­bers, who try to stop the rede­vel­op­ment of their beloved Queen Vic­to­ria, the only Jew­ish curl­ing club in the city, into a Domin­ion gro­cery store.  Although we know (because, his­to­ry) how it ends, Tregebov’s affec­tion­ate por­trait of the world he grew up in takes the read­er on a hilar­i­ous trip in the time machine.

Trege­bov appeared in Thin Air, the Win­nipeg Inter­na­tion­al Writ­ers’ Fes­ti­val, and his nov­el was dis­cussed in Tues­day Book Club on The Next Chap­ter, with host She­lagh Rogers.  You can lis­ten to that hereBernie Bel­lan reviewed Shot Rock for the Jew­ish Post and News, and here’s Gor­don Arnold’s review for the Win­nipeg Free Press.  Ear­li­er, Michael Fraiman inter­viewed Michael Trege­bov for the Cana­di­an Jew­ish News.

Shot Rock, the mol­e­cule-for­mat edi­tion, may be obtained from Librairie Para­graphe, TYPE Books, A Dif­fer­ent Drum­mer, Words Worth Books, McNal­ly-Robin­son Book­sellers, the People’s Co-op Book­store, and oth­er book­shops.  Mean­while, it’s been elec­tri­fied, and that ver­sion can be found here.