Culture & Conversation

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    Clinging to the Rock

    In Michael Crummey’s novel Sweetland, the crusty hero clings to the old Rock with an irrational tenacity. Sweetland is populated with vivid, distinctly drawn characters: Queenie Coffin, a chain-smoking agoraphobic who sits by the window of her house reading romance novels, the wild Priddle brothers, Irish twins who make piles of money in Fort Mac and then come home to drink it all away and the aptly named Loveless and his unfortunate cow.

    In Sweet Affliction, Moving Day is mandatory in a dystopic Montreal

    Montreal flipped on its tête

    Anna Leventhal’s Sweet Affliction has Montreal flipped on its tête – one in which Moving Day is mandatory and sanctioned by the province, one in which Hasidic Jews interact socially with their non-Orthodox neighbours, and one in which the Hippodrome is the set of a twisted reality show where illegal immigrants vie for citizenship.

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    “English motherfucker! Do you speak it!”

    The award winning 1994 Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction had Shakespearean aspects in it that didn’t seem to be noticed at the time. And yet the cross section of characters, the mixture of tragedy and comedy, the poetic musings of underlings, and nearly everyone dying by the end – it’s hard to get more Shakespeareth than that.

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    The hiatus is up

    Danette Mackay has found a second wind. Kiss My Cabaret popped up again recently with little fanfare save a notice on Facebook, and quickly filled the 200-seat space.

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    Lots of sex, little love

    Before she committed suicide herself, Quebec writer Nelly Arcan wrote a book about a protagonist who decides to commit suicide by age 30. Arcan, known for her struggle with depression, has written a book as painful as her life.

    Marianne Ackerman about to come to Montreal.

    BYOW and be happy

    How goes Montreal’s anglo cultural scene? Marianne Ackerman offers some preliminary thoughts ahead of a panel she will join on Sunday hosted by the English-language Arts Network.