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25 Points: New Tab

new tab
New Tab
by Guillaume Morissette
Véhicule Press, 2014
224 pages / $19.95 buy from Véhicule Press or Amazon

1. Morissette’s second full-length is set in a hip neighborhood in Montreal. Characters drink cheap beer, ignore their parents, promote cinema.

2. As an American, the most striking cultural moment in this Canadian novel was when two of the characters discussed, without guilt, never having seen The Shawshank Redemption.

3. New Tab tells the story of roommates born on Craigslist—their complex negotiations with landlords, utility companies, each other.

4. The narrator Thomas, a writer in his 20s, sulks through a dayjob designing video games for palmheld devices. At night he sneaks beers into dance clubs and hosts house parties. He attends a Creative Writing Program where he befriends the hard-partying, socially uninhibited Shannon. He falls in love with Romy, a walking distressed sweatshirt. Recalling a breakup conversation with Romy to Shannon, Thomas admits: “it’s like we were talking about golf.”

5. While reading this novel I kept thinking of my mother: Girls grow up faster than boys do.

6. New Tab is a page-turner.

7. I read it on vacation. I also read other books. I kept swiping out of those books to get back to New Tab.

8. I read on beer-stained hammocks and undercrowded chicken buses. I read in a colorful doorway and at a taco bar where body-obsessed Australians were puking up cheladas. I wanted to read New Tab when I couldn’t digest soccer. Like on July 4th during a long lunch when it took me the whole meal to realize Germany was in brown and the French were in black.

9. Morissette has a considerable talent for dialogue, and by that I mean everyone is written the same way.

10. I was eager to read New Tab after reading Morissette’s first book, I Am My Own Betrayal. I remember being deeply moved by this thought in the poem “Vaster Emptiness Achieved”:

We write poetry, people hate us, do we really have to hate each other also?

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Reviews / 5 Comments
September 9th, 2014 / 1:46 pm

25 Points: New Tab

new tab
New Tab
by Guillaume Morissette
Véhicule Press, 2014
224 pages / $19.95 buy from Véhicule Press or Amazon

1. Video games don’t offer happiness—or exciting work environments.

2. This novel reminded me how bad I am at French. (My dreams of conversing with Guillaume in a foreign language are crushed.)

3. My generation is both really poor and unhappy—even with college degrees and semi-supportive parents. (On the bright side: we like to party a lot.)

4. Don’t know why Ines and company allowed Dan to live with them. Even if he did offer to pay cash up front, why would you want to live with a creepy forty-something?

5. This novel furthered the American stereotype that Canadians drink a lot of beer.

6. Brent’s an asshole—I don’t like him. (Whomever “Brent” was based off of, if you’re reading this, I hope we’re given an opportunity to meet and reconcile so my current opinion of you can change to a more positive one.)

7. When I first started this novel, the writing style kind of reminded me of Taipei by Tao Lin—but I got over that quickly because Morissette’s characters were actually interesting.

8. To reiterate: I liked this novel way more than Taipei.

9. To whomever “Cristian” is based off of: let’s build an ice rink together.

10. This novel really made me want to move to Montreal. Apparently that’s where the party’s at.

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Reviews / 1 Comment
August 7th, 2014 / 12:00 pm

Interview with Guillaume Morissette

Q: Hi, Guillaume. Who are some of your favorite authors/what are some of your favorite books?

A: A nonfiction book called, ‘A History of Celibacy’, I forget its author. Also Mark Leyner, Clarice Lispector, recent stuff like Lidia Yuknavitch/Tao Lin/Blake Butler, Bill Bissett, older stuff like René Daumal/Ikkyu/Pessoa, canon stuff like Ann Beattie/Lorrie Moore/Lydia Davis/Amy Hempel, Jean Rhys, Alain Robbe-Grillet, some Saul Bellow, ‘The People of Paper’ by Salvador Plascencia, other things.

Q: I’m a big fan of Clarice Lispector. Which one(s) have you read? What do you like about her?

A: I recommend, ‘Hour of The Star’ to people a lot. For a while, she didn’t feel like a human person to me, she felt like some sort of superhuman or terminator sent from the future to write sharp commanding novels with intensely lucid individual sentences, like I read somewhere that after ‘Passion According To GH’, she fell asleep holding a cigarette and injured her typing hand in the fire and then somehow still went on to produce another 8-10 books after that. Then at some point I read, ‘Near To The Wild Heart’, her first novel, and it made me feel closer to her and think of her as a person, and that made me question what I wanted my own writing to make me ‘come across as’, and my answer to that was: flawed, profoundly flawed, but hopefully lucid about the flaws and maybe minimally theatrical about them.

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Author Spotlight / 8 Comments
June 26th, 2012 / 1:18 pm

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