Anvil Press

Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist


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Cover for The Incomparables

The Incomparables

By Alexandra Leggat

The Incomparables is the debut novel from the Trillium nominated author of Animal. Lydia Templar is obsessed with fabric, the texture and weight of cloth. Through fabrics, curtains, costumes, she expresses herself in a way she feels incapable of doing in words. For the past ten years she’s apprenticed in the wardrobe department of a small Shakespearean theatre company and has finally been given the opportunity to showcase her designs. When she discovers her husband is having an affair with his leading lady, she seeks revenge the only way she knows how: she weaves her panic, pain, and paranoia into the costumes. It costs her the job. She swears she’ll never sew again, packs her things, and returns to her mother and the sprawling country estate she left years ago. Lydia discovers that her mother has turned part of the large family home into a bed and breakfast.


When a group of counsellors from the city book the family’s B&B for the summer to prepare for a special wedding ceremony, Lydia’s plans to never thread a needle again are challenged. Through the one thing she cannot live without, the counsellors lure Lydia into a role she did not see coming — her self.


The Incomparables is a novel about ambition, betrayal, “failure,” love, family dynamics, how we deal with societal, family, and personal expectations, and how we come to accept who we are.


REVIEWERS ON Animal


“I’m tempted to say it’s a slim, distilled masterpiece.”
MICHAEL BRYSON, Underground Book Club


“these quickly unfolding stories are elliptically drawn, tense with action and dark humour. Leggat is a shape-shifting writer”
THE GLOBE AND MAIL


“this immensely rewarding collection is worth picking up”
EYE WEEKLY


“Most short story collections are up and down. Unlike most, however, Animal is more than the sum of its parts.” – HERIZONS

ISBN 978-1-927380-62-8
5.25 x 8.25 | 320 pp
$20 CAN / $20 US
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Intensive Care a memoir by Alan Twigg

Intensive Care: A Memoir

By Alan Twigg

One night in April, after a Sunday soccer game, Alan Twigg couldn’t remember the names of his two sons or his wife—and he couldn’t hold a pen. An emergency CAT scan revealed a large brain tumour squeezed against his motor cortex. Intensive Care tells the story of why this was a good thing.

Intensive Care isn’t a medical survival story; it’s a yearlong reflection on how the imminence of death can enhance life. The grass gets greener. Confirmation that one is loved is exhilarating, more powerful than any drug.

On May 26th, The Globe & Mail ran a front page story about a recent medical study that concluded one in five Canadians will have a tumour in their head at some point in their lives. Two days later, Dr. Christopher Honey, a neurosurgeon at Vancouver General Hospital, removed the benign tumour from Alan Twigg’s head during a five-hour operation. He started writing again, in the Intensive Care ward, three hours later.

ISBN 1895636477
5 x 8 | 80 pp
14.00 CAN / 10.00 US
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Cover of Inventory

Inventory

By Marguerite Pigeon

Inventory is a collection of 58 object poems. Taking as a starting point the reciprocal relation between subjects and objects, the book explores the unique way that objects appear in an individual consciousness. Each object in this Inventory exists on its own and also reflects the author’s experience, from the mundane stapler and tea bag, to the mysterious, extinct dodo bird, to entities that blur the line between person and thing.

In this way, the collection highlights the often hidden dimensions of the objects we encounter, including their temporal, political, locational and psychic aspects. It offers an opportunity for readers to reconsider their own investments in what, by dictionary definition, should be static categories.

Praise for Inventory:

Inventory by Marguerite Pigeon examines life’s often forgotten elements. From her portrait of “meaning” to her idyllic details of a clothespin, Pigeon is a master of naked realism and organic descriptions of expression. Her first publication, lnventory, was short-listed for the 2010 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. The book explores the lucid philosophy of simple pleasures – it’s a refreshing truth bound in a small package.

lnventory is a front-to-back read that meshes simplicity and intricacy in a witty and intelligent style. Pigeon’s work is a gem of purity in a complex world.”
—Poetry is Dead

ISBN 1895636973
5 x 7.5 | 80 pp
$15 CAN / $15 US
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Ivanhoe Station by Lyle Neff

Ivanhoe Station

By Lyle Neff

B.C. Book Prize Finalist

Ivanhoe Station is a début collection that rivets with poetic imagery as sharp as movie graphics. These poems address, in turn, social and political questions, while focussing—centrally—on a theme of transcendence.

ISBN 1895636167
5 x 8 | 64 pp
10.95 CAN / 8.95 US
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Cover for Jabbering with Bing Bong

Jabbering with Bing Bong

By Kevin Spenst

Kevin Spenst’s much-anticipated debut collection of poetry opens as a coming-of-age narrative of lower-middle class life in Vancouver’s suburb of Surrey, embroidered within a myriad of pop- and “post-Mennonite” culture.

Language is at play with sit-com sonnets, soundscapes of noise, videogame goombas, an Old-Testament God, teenage longing within the power chords of heavy metal, and the complicated loss of a father to schizophrenia. Jabbering with Bing Bong chronicles the heartbreaking and slapstick pursuit of truth in the realms of religion, mental health, and poetic form itself.


Praise for Jabbering with Bing Bong:
“Belief and disbelief rub up against each other in this startling and flawless debut collection. … These important poems do not redeem so much as allow the possibility of redemption.”
—Jen Currin, author of The Inquisition Yours


“Fearless, attentively probing, and sonically sharp, he is a rare counter-theosophist rhapsodist. Spenst’s Jabbering…is the work of a remarkable shepherd.”
—Sandra Ridley, author of The Counting House


“Kevin Spenst provides further proof that the best writing these days is in the practice of poetry. Hang on tight as you are winged deftly through the human strains…curiosity, sexuality, death, religion and striving—it’s all here.”
—Dennis E. Bolen, author of Black Liquor


“Kevin Spenst’s muscular vocabulary, vigorous pace and nimble references to cultural details enliven his exploration of topics ranging from adolescence to God to Fenris wolf.”
—Sarah Klassen, author of Journey to Yalta

ISBN 978-1-77214-014-9
5 x 8 | 88 pp
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Cover for Jettison

Jettison

By Nathaniel G. Moore


Nathaniel G. Moore follows up his 2014 ReLit Award win for Savage with a diverse collection of short fiction, his first — Jettison, featuring stories which dangle somewhere between horror and romance.
“Jaws” explores a father’s desire to over-share the erotic origins of his children’s “Aunt” Louise; “Blade Runner” uncovers the darkest and most hilarious aspects of dating by delineating the psych ward politics surrounding a male mental patient with five girlfriends who take apart his bed when they visit; in “A Higher Power” readers are introduced to a brave woman in recovery who shares a story about a time when all she could think about was Prime Minister Paul Martin and would do anything to crash charity dance-a-thons he might be attending; in “Son of Zodiac” Moore captures the ache of a life-spanning meltdown in the painfully polite confessions of a man who believes his father was the Zodiac Killer. Be grateful as you witness a portrait of vulgar torment when a young woman is given an English professor action figure for Christmas in “Professor Buggles.”


Each of these stories is an all-inclusive getaway to hilarity and emotional atonement — Jettison is an all-you-can-eat buffet of literary invention: you’ll be so glad you got an invite.


And check out Jettison.ca for all things Jettison!


WHAT FOLKS ARE SAYING ABOUT JETTISON:


“Nathaniel G. Moore’s first short-story collection is certainly not for everyone’s taste, but is a good introduction to the British Columbia-based writer who’s been compared to Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs … wickedly fun to read.”
— Winnipeg Free Press


Jettison is not a pull-your-hair-out-and-run-out-the-door-screaming-horror-show, but rather an entertaining whirlwind of premise, playing with familiar tropes such as family reunions, romantic fallouts, our role in destroying the world, and our obsession with chaos, conflict and communication.”
—Small Press Book Review


Jettison is nothing if not daring, and the ‘Screw you, let’s get weird’ approach smacks equally of New Narrative writers and high-end sci-fi. When the total flippancy thing is done well, it’s actually hilarious.”
–The Winnipeg Review


“I read ‘The Thorncliffe Strangler’ expecting violence. The title, I thought, warned it. Instead, Moore writes about a friendship. The memory of it, its nostalgia. There are funny moments and moments that point to deep wells of sadness, to the parts inside us either lost or absurd. Meanwhile, at the edge, an apocryphal strangler hovers. What he represents to you will, of course, depend on your experience with stranglers.”
– Chelsea Rooney, author of Pedal


“Dark humour and wet lust—Moore takes us from the height of human feeling with a flashbulb love story and cold-cocks us with a festering Floridian bug bite and the Ontario cold.”
-Evie Christie, author of The Bourgeois Empire


“Seismic shocks of recognition as Nathaniel G. Moore in his ‘American Psycho’ short story portrays the mug’s game as T.S. Eliot liked to describe the sport of poetry writing. Mr. Moore’s Big Smoke slugfest takes place over time (extra rounds) with both combatants thoroughly bloodied.”
– Philip Quinn, author of The Double

ISBN 978-1-77214-047-7
5.25 x 8.25 | 288 pp
$20 CAN / $20 US
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Cover of Kaspoit!

Kaspoit!

By Dennis E. Bolen

Kaspoit! puts speculative illustration to the most profuse series of crimes ever to take place on Canadian soil. Set in the lower mainland of Vancouver, the time is now—criminals are brazen, cops are cynical—and no one is trying to solve the disappearance of dozens of women.

Throughout, the novel conveys a savage, dystopian depiction of a netherworld teeming with gangland crime, sexual exploitation, betrayal and murder. The language is neologistic—jarring and vulgar—creating an atmosphere dense with bloodchilling dread, hurtling the reader through sinister, malevolent scenes with a velocity rarely seen in contemporary fiction.

———

“… After William Pickton was arrested, media and activist groups had a field day speculating about why women were going missing from the Downtown Eastside for years before the Vancouver Police or RCMP appeared to notice. That’s the question Bolen tries to answer in Kaspoit! It’s a novel about perception and agendas, about how what we see, and what we think we know, are determined by what we’re looking for. … Bolen’s stripped-to-the-frame, dialogue-driven story will be as shocking to CanLit-conditioned sensibilities as a slap in the face with a bag of cold nails.”

— John Moore, BC BookWorld

Kaspoit! is either a sublime literary work of near genius or is one of the most wretched wallows in the dark mire of the soul ever published. … Reader beware, Kaspoit! is not for the easily upset, but, if you can handle it, you’ll soon realize you’re reading a work of stark brilliance. … The story itself is so compelling that the reader returns to the book, though repelled by it. Finally, the conspiracy it posits is startling compared to the vague news coverage that the infamous pig farm case received.”
— Les Wiseman, Victoria Times Colonist

“a tour de force of thug-life horror, the book is a fictionalized account of what might have gone on at a certain Port Coquitlam pig farm where the DNA of 32 women was found during a massive forensic investigation. If you’ve ever felt that the publication ban on Robert Pickton’s speedy trial and conviction smelled strongly of cover-up, this is for you.”
— Alex Varty, The Georgia Straight

ISBN 9781897535059
5.75 x 8.75 | 258 pp
$20.00 CAN / $20.00 US
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Knucklehead & Other Stories by W. Mark Giles

Knucklehead & Other Stories

By W. Mark Giles

Winner of the W.O. Mitchell/City of Calgary Award

A debut collection, these stories are set in the corporeal world of adult endeavour: the mall, the office, the subdivision. It’s these settings that W. Mark Giles exploits—locking his sights on eerily familiar characters, excavating their fears, intimacies, and the dark machinery behind their actions. He taps into our collective longing for moments of clarity and awe, recognizes our thwarted potential for wonder, and sees our secrets played out in cruelty. A strangely unified collection, unsettling and surprising, Knucklehead resides where the lines between real and imagined blur. Giles’s penetrating view and unsentimental honesty shape these stories and push the reader’s expectations of the “ordinary.” These are mature and compelling narratives that encapsulate everything great about short fiction. They freeze a moment, but upon closer examination reveal something more, a message that resonates long after that story has been read.


Praise for Knucklehead & Other Stories

“Elegant riddles dressed in workaday clothes, puzzles of image and event whose solutions cut to the heart of being human in a world of perils …. There’s not a word or image that fails to contribute to Giles’ purpose.”
– The Globe & Mail

“Giles’ style is polished and assured throughout …. Knucklehead is a solid debut.”
—Quill & Quire

ISBN 1895636507
5.5 x 7.5 | 238 pp
18.00 CAN / 13.00 US
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cover of Kubrick Red

Kubrick Red: A Memoir

By Simon Roy


Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining was released in 1980 and has been fascinating viewers ever since. It is a psychological thriller about a writer with writer’s block (along with his wife and their young son) who takes a job as caretaker of an isolated hotel in the Colorado mountains during the winter off-season. The boy, Danny, is gifted with a “sixth sense” and soon begins receiving disturbing messages about the hotel’s mysterious past, and thus begins a cinematic descent into madness and terror.


Simon Roy first saw The Shining when he was ten years old and was mesmerized by a particular line in the movie spoken by Dick Hallorann, the chef of the Overlook Hotel, while he is giving the family an orientation tour of the facilities. Hallorann seems to speak directly to Danny (and Simon Roy) while in the middle of enumerating the stock of the hotel’s pantry to Danny’s mother. He glances at Danny and the words cross telepathically into the boy’s mind: “How’d you like some ice cream, Doc?”


Roy encountered the scene by chance, while idly flipping through the channels on the television, but the short scene left an indelible mark upon him: “The doubling of Chef Hallorann’s voice created in me such powerful unease that I can still feel it, intact, thirty years later. … I felt like Hallorann had for a moment drawn back from his role as the guide of the Overlook Hotel to establish a direct relationship with me and reveal something hidden.”


Roy has since seen the movie over forty-two times, and the painstaking bond he has knitted with this story of evil has enabled him to absorb the disquieting traits of his own family’s “macabre lineage.” Analysis of the film, and the many parallels to his own family’s troubled history, have allowed him to gain insight into the nature of domestic violence.


WHAT THE REVIEWERS HAVE TO SAY:


“Few books walk the space inhabited by Simon Roy’s Kubrick Red. At once obsessive, dark, philosophical, academic, and touching, Kubrick Red is a bizarre memoir that manages to deconstruct and celebrate Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining while laying out the hardest moments of Roy’s life as well as the continuing impact the film has had in his life. The result is a book that jumps from childhood memories to scene analyses to hybrid/experimental literary territory to coping with the loss of a loved one, and it does so with an ease and grace rarely seen in a debut. …”
— Gabino Iglesias, Vol. 1 Brooklyn


“… it’s hard to find parallels elsewhere in literature. … both Les Éditions du Boréal, the book’s original publisher, and Vancouver’s Anvil Press deserve credit for taking on a book which resists categorisation … [a] strange and occasionally brilliant book, which mashes up elements of film theory, genre thrillers and a lament for his dead mother with reflections on his troubled childhood.”
VANCOUVER SUN


Kubrick Red: A Memoir does a deep dive into Kubrick’s methods and aims (he and co-screenwriter Diane Johnson wanted to craft a filmic embodiment of Freud’s ‘Das Unheimliche’ essay, apparently) even as it explores questions of how we use art in our lives. The latter is an especially charged question for Roy, whose family background is marked by dysfunction and tragedy: ‘To make suffering aesthetic is to avoid looking horror directly in the eye … to repel its deadly impact by placing between real horror and my tormented mind a 140-minute movie. Make it absorb the hardest blows.’ Roy has seen The Shining at least 42 times. That might strike some as unhealthy, but it has worked for him in at least one way: with Kubrick Red, he has made something compelling of his fixation.”
MONTREAL GAZETTE


“On first viewing, The Shining barely coheres: It’s hard to say why exactly events in the film happen as they do. Yet long after, it remains deeply unsettling. Mother and child survive, but the axe-wielding father’s death offers no finality. When Simon Roy was a boy, he caught The Shining on television. The deluge of blood made no impression, but when Dick Hollorann asked in slow-mo voice-over “How’d you like some ice cream, Doc?” young Simon was sure the hotel chef spoke directly to him. Since that moment of being scared witless, Roy has watched Kubrick’s film obsessively, finding new meaning in it and dark parallels with his own story. Just as Kubrick used Stephen King’s novel to talk about the horrors of genocide revisited on the present, in Kubrick Red Roy analyses the film to exorcise a crime in his family’s past. An atypical memoir tracing genealogies of violence – as startling as the film that inspired it.”
GLOBE & MAIL

ISBN 978-1-77214-072-9
5 x 8.5 | 160 pp
$18 CAN / $18 US
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Cover for The Least You Can Do Is Be Magnificent

The Least You Can Do Is Be Magnificent: Selected and New Writings

By Steve Venright


Compiled and with an Afterword by Alessandro Porco.


For over thirty years, Steve Venright has devoted himself to the liberation of the imagination, documenting hallucinatory trips through Southwestern Ontario’s deliriomantic landscapes with his signature puns, portmanteaus, and spoonerisms. The Least You Can Do Is Be Magnificent: Selected & New Writings is a generous gathering of Venright’s most enduring and extraordinary poems, including the revised and expanded “Manta Ray Jack and the Crew of the Spooner”— the most outlandish and hilarious seafaring tale since Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. This volume also features an in-depth examination of Venright’s work by scholar Alessandro Porco.


ADVANCE PRAISE:
“Steve Venright’s work is, in turns, luminous, passionate, surreal, and absurd. While some poets cultivate small or topical terrains, Venright isn’t about a lawn of one’s own. He hops the fences and jumps in the pools. His writing sandblasts our needless veneers and reveals something more authentic — something, ultimately, more human.”
– Stevie Howell, author of Sharps


“This beautiful, inviting book is immensely readable and brimful with a totally unique, liberated humour. Steve Venright’s prose-inflected poetry and genre-bending prose sparkle with all the crystal residue of the pataphysical turn in the Canadian avant-garde. These joyful texts are euphoriagrams from the lucid dreams you wish you had.”
– Gregory Betts, author of Avant-Garde Canadian Literature: The Early Manifestations


“Steve Venright’s blissful and satirical experiments can be seen as artistic extensions of alternative worldviews held by psychonaut Terence McKenna and others, where travelling the imagination is not merely a metaphorical exploration of consciousness but a material voyage that can include complex linguistic innovation. Venright has created a literature of great mutability, cleverness, and depth.”
– Amy Catanzano, author of Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella



A FEED DOG BOOK
Feed Dog Books is an imprint of Anvil Press
Imprint Editor: Stuart Ross

ISBN 978-1-77214-102-3
5.25 x 8.25 | 192 pp.
$20 CAN / $20 US
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