Nathan Whitlock

  • Week of This, A

    Nathan Whitlock

    A brilliant, darkly comic, and startlingly honest novel, A Week of This follows the lives of an extended family over one increasingly desperate week. At the centre of the novel is 38-year-old Manda, a tough, sarcastic woman who has yet to make peace with the town she was brought to as a teenager after her parents' messy divorce. Her estranged mother is crazy, her father is ill and in retreat, her damaged older brother is growing restless and distant, her stepbrother is a grown-up teenager without any real friends, and her husband is a tight-lipped, depressed store-owner who has been pressing Manda to have a baby.

    Full of barbed dialogue and hilariously deadpan descriptions of family dynamics and the kind of awkward social dances that get performed every day, A Week of This is a book for people who always feel a little out of place, right where they are. People who are smart enough to know something has gone wrong, but can't figure out how to fix it. People who know they aren't kids anymore, but are not quite ready to grow up.

    "A Week of This is bleak, funny, sad, smart, and unlike any novel I have ever read. The lives of these characters are so richly imagined I could taste the furnace dust, smell the backed-up sewer, feel the thump of every hangover. It's an authentic, unsentimental literary experiment that doesn't read like an experiment. Nathan Whitlock has exposed the timeless heart of lower-middle-class everywhere." - Todd Babiak, author of The Book of Stanley and The Garneau Block.

  • Welcome to 1984 and the town of South Wakefield. Chris Lane is 14 and he's sure that he can see the future, or at least guess what's inside of Christie Brinkley's mind. But he can't foresee the closing of Joyland, the town's only video arcade.

    With the arcade's passing comes a summer of teenage lust, violence, and a search for new entertainment. Never far away is Chris's younger sister, Tammy, who plays spy to the events that will change the lives of her family and town forever. Joyland is a novel about the impossibility of knowing the future. Schultz bring the Cold War home in a novel set to the digital pulse of video games and the echoes of hair metal. Joyland is illustrated throughout by graphic novelist Nate Powell, whose work has been praised by Sin City creator Frank Miller as "observant, intimate cartooning [that] surgically cuts to the bone."

  • you are entirely happy with your poem / you are not happy then there is no charge and your deposit is returned / you are totally satisfied with the outcome / you are a man / you are a little confused / you are entirely happy with your poem / you are not happy then there is no charge and your deposit is returned / you are totally satisfied with the outcome . . .

    "Apostrophe" is:
    a) a figure of speech in which a person, an abstract quality or a nonexistent entity is addressed as though present
    b) a poem written in 1993 in which every sentence is an apostrophe
    c) a program-apostropheengine.ca-based on the 1993 poem that hijacks search engines in order to extend the poem infinitely
    d) a book of poetry written using the website

    The answer:
    e) all of the above.

    Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry's Apostrophe contains all of these things, except the search engine (but you can visit that any time you like). Each line from the original poem has become the title of a new poem generated by the program's metonymic romp through the World Wide Web. Phrases rub against each other promiscuously; poems and readers alike come to their own conclusions. The results are by turns poignant, banal, offensive and hilarious, but always surprising and always unaffected. In other words, everything a book of contemporary poetry should be, and then some.

    Poet and scholar Charles Bernstein has suggested that Apostrophe may be related to Freud's notion of the uncanny, a somnambulistic drift that appears aimless yet somehow always returns to "you." Apostrophe is an entirely new kind of poetry: neither stable nor unstable, sections come and go, but the overall shape of the poem remains vaguely familiar, like a trick of memory.

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