Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Great energy on opening night at VWF 2013

View from the quay outside Granville Island Market.
Two standout readings last night at the Vancouver Writers Fest Grand Openings event were by Earl Lovelace and Rachel Kushner. They had us snorting with laughter in the audience. Both Lovelace and Kushner wield satire with a sure hand. Kushner looked up at one point to mention that no other audience had found her work so funny. (It wasn't clear whether she found this disconcerting or charming.) Coincidentally, both writers have set their recent novels in the 1970s.

I never would have picked up Lovelace's Is Just a Movie otherwise, but now I'm eager to read the rest of his story of a Trinidadian singer hoping to make a name for himself through a part in a foreign movie being shot on the island. I'm currently listening to an audiobook edition of Kushner's debut novel, Telex from Cuba, and loving it. Her new book, The Flamethrowers, is most definitely on my TBR.

Viola Di Grada also chose to read from a funny - yet disturbing - part of her novel, 70% Acrylic 30% Wool. The first-person narrator feels assaulted by beauty (like a slap in the face) and feels obliged to murder flowers.

Other highlights from last night include a flawless reading by Eleanor Catton from her Booker-winning The Luminaries. She explained that the luminaries are celestial bodies and they are represented in her characters. Catton read from a part where the two that represent the sun and moon first met. They are a young man and woman watching an albatross from the deck of a steamer off New Zealand's Otago peninsula. I'm going to have to choose a particular block of time to read this book because it's 832 pages long and will require focus to appreciate its complexity. E-book is probably the format I'll choose, just because it's so heavy.

Bill Reid canoe at Vandusen Garden
Joseph Boyden's newest book, The Orenda, blew my mind. I was totally thrilled to hear him read from it and my mind once again was haunted by Snow Falls, Bird and Crow. During the signing portion at the end of the evening, my friends and I had a mini book discussion of The Orenda while we waited for the fourth person in our group to get Boyden to sign copies. He had a much longer autograph line than any of the other authors.


Claire G said...

So cool you've got Eleanor Catton right after her Booker win! (You do appreciate, I hope, that she is ours - NZ'S - not yours?) I've bought the ebook, the first for my new kobo tablet, but also the doorstopper hardcopy.Just because.

Lindy said...

She is CANADIAN! Even if she denies this. (And she does.) She was born in Canada and therefore she is OURS. (mwha ha ha).