Chester Brown is an award-winning cartoonist and a two-time Libertarian Party of Canada candidate, but these days it’s his life as a john that’s getting the most attention. In his recent autobiographical graphic novel, Paying For It, he tells us about the twenty-three prostitutes he has been with since deciding to pursue paid sex in 1999.
Sylvia Weisler, age thirty-three, published writer of a book of poetry, is tackling a new subject in earnest. Her next book will be about newspaper-based personal ads, she has decided.
So, girl dates cad. Girl leaves cad. Girl trips serendipitously over business card. Girl buys into expensive arranged-marriage service. Marriage is arranged. Newly-met husband turns out to be knave. Girl leaves knave. Arranged husband professes love, knaveship is overturned. Ta-dah!
André Pratte is the editor-in-chief of La Presse. His newest book, Wilfrid Laurier, is part of the Extraordinary Canadians series, published by Penguin Canada and edited by John Ralston Saul, that aims to provide historical insight into our own times.
There are ways in which biographies, interesting ones at any rate, act as reference points; for better or worse, they turn a life (whether typical or atypical) into a marker for a particular historical moment, or use it to summarize events too complex for readers to grasp in other ways. Though this is not their only effect, it is a compelling one.