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 Villon. I 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 here. Bernie 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.