Saturday, September 28, 2013


1. Brian Fawcett and Steven Beattie on the David Glimour flap.

2. The second interdisciplinary conference on the graphic novel at Oxford closes. Several interesting papers presented. I met several interesting people there, and learned quite a bit. More to follow.

3. Le Devoir reviews Jérôme Borromée, a title by first-time novelist Guillaume Borque. I haven't read the work, and am not likely to get access to it any time soon. (My favourite kind of book is printed ... and sold at a reasonable price at a second-hand shop (just for the record, I'm okay with e-books, but firmly within the ee-cheon won price range, with a slight preference for those priced unequivocally at "kong").) 

The review of the novel describes it as being about a fairly archetypal urban male in his early 30s whose life is comfortable but who's in the grip of various dissatisfactions, some explicit, some concealed: he is worried about his sexual identity, and apparently shamed by rumours of his father's gayness. It sounds like an interesting and honest treatment of sexual anxieties that, while they come in an entire spectrum of forms, tend to be universal in the sense that one can only scrape away at the layers of this sort of anxiety -- one can never fully comprehend it. It is interesting to contrast the themes of this title with the David Gilmour's apparent opinion that "guy's guy" authors are strictly heterosexual; a leap of psychoanalytic faith. 

Part of the problem is that while Gilmour is interested in the work of male writers who are fascinated with women (an interest that I share), he does very little to scrape away at the difficulties -- the possible projections, anxieties, wish fulfilments, and secret currents of self-loathing -- that are the flip-side of human sexuality's "directness". (Ironically, Gilmour the writer seems more in tune with this than Gilmour the interviewee.) In any event, it does seem to me that while Gilmour is currently being taken to task for alleged sexism, it might be more germane -- and more revealing -- to discuss his attitudes toward fellow Canadian writers ... a group he expresses obvious disdain for. 

Of course, Canadian writing has never perceived itself as especially tough. But what is toughness? And does it deserve a conflation with guy's guy masculinity? I'd like to hear somewhat more on this issue -- both in terms of the interesting fiction that is currently being produced in Quebec (and getting little attention in anglo Canada), and in terms of Gilmour's more considered thoughts on this matter (he is fluently bilingual). It seems to me the question of his estimation of Canadian literature is where the controversy should really be sourced ... not the present brouhaha over his supposed sexism -- a sexism he himself denies, and which no evidence of has yet been produced.

No comments:

Post a Comment