Fiction at a Glance

You and Your Bright Ideas

You & Your Bright Ideas: New Montreal Writing
Edited By Andy Brown and Rob Mclennan

Véhicule Press
$16.95
paper
180pp
1-55065-152-8

A friend and I were having a barroom chat awhile back about Montreal’s thriving zine/spoken word scene, a good chunk of which consists of people who’ve come here from elsewhere. “Why here?” we asked, and I propounded some high-flown cultural/linguistic theory. My friend was more blunt, offering a syllogism: “Young writers generally aren’t big breadwinners. Low wage earners gravitate toward cheap places. Therefore a lot of young writers end up in Montreal.”

There’s got to be more to it than that (why don’t they all go to Edmonton?) but let’s just move on and say that there is a lot happening here, and You and Your Bright Ideas bravely attempts to get it between two covers. Brown and mclennan are tireless campaigners who’ve done a good job of representing the range of work appearing lately. Inevitably there’s a grab-bag feel, but the upside is that there’s something for almost any taste. Plenty of the more bleakly earnest pieces, and most of the more “free” poetry, just didn’t float my boat, and some of the visual pieces stretch the definition of “writing” past my personal breaking point. But I loved some of the more comic narrative things, like those by Jonathan Goldstein, Tess Fragoulis, and Ian Ferrier. A preview of Catherine Kidd’s long-anticipated novel Bestial Rooms shows that it works as well on the page as on the stage, and David McGimpsey’s laugh-out-loud poetic odes to trash culture shouldn’t be missed. All in all, a highly commendable undertaking. mRb

Ian McGillis writes about books and visual arts for the Montreal Gazette.

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