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Voices that linger: Montreal author Peter Dubé invokes the spirit of surrealism

All Saints' Day. Halloween. Day of the Dead. The time of year when the veil between the living and the deceased is at its most transparent. Suddenly, voices from beyond the grave get silenced by Christmas jingles, and cemetery scenes are scrapped in lieu of the North Pole. This abrupt change of season won’t affect local author Peter Dubé’s modus operandi when he takes part in a reading at Drawn & Quarterly this coming Saturday.

Dubé will read selections from his latest novella, Subtle Bodies: a Fantasia on Voice, History and René Crevel, which was published by Lethe Press in 2010, and nominated for a Shirley Jackson award. The book is a fictional narrative told from the perspective of French author René Crevel, who killed himself in 1935. While the story centers on Crevel’s friendship with fellow writer André Breton, it also excavates fragments from the surrealist movement of the 1920s. Dubé’s writing is lush; the tale blooms into trance states, memories, fantasies, and dreamscapes. The story also contains earthly elements of desire and lust, with city parks turning into bustling cruising grounds at dusk. There is the scent and swoon of pastis, and the ominous hiss of a gas stove left on forever.

Though he’ll be reading from Subtle Bodies, Dubé is willing to divulge bits of cryptic information about forthcoming work. In Spring 2012, Cormorant Books will release his new novel, which he calls "a noir narrative about activist movements, an unhappy academic, the collapse (or explosion) of language and a Symbolist street gang."

Dubé will read alongside Sean Dixon and Vancouver’s Kevin Chong, with hosting duties going to David McGimpsey, the Montreal editor of Joyland.


Reading with Kevin Chong, Sean Dixon, and Peter Dubé
Hosted by David McGimpsey
Saturday, November 5 at 7PM
Drawn & Quarterly | 211 Bernard W. 
| drawnandquarterly.com