Monday, March 30, 2009

Canuck Book 8 - Important Artifacts. . . by Leanne Shapton

The full title of this book:

Important Artifacts and Personal Property From The Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewellery

This book is more experiment than novel. Taking the form of an auction calendar, it details the relationship of Doolan and Morris from beginning to end. Trinkets, mixed cds, snapshots, notes stuffed in old books - everything is presented as just more items in the catalogue.

The surprising thing is that there is a narrative and it can be followed. But that's really about it. The story is pretty simple and there is nothing that really surprises.

Of course, that's kind of besides the point as this book is more about the idea of a novel and what you can get away with. It's a stunt. Thankfully, it's a successful one. The book appeals to our voyeuristic side and it delivers in spades. While I'm not likely to give up my more conventional novels, it was nice to see someone take an original approach to a fairly conventional form.


John Mutford said...

I'm glad it works, but I have to say the title turns me off. Wasn't the humour of eccentrically long titles killed off with Fiona Apple's When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he'll win the whole thing before he enters the ring
There's no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won't matter, cuz you'll know that you're right
(despite Chumbawumba's claim otherwise)?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

How unusual! Are there pictures? I'm not sure I could get into it if there were no pictures.

Remi said...

It's pretty much all photos with lines describing what each lot is. It really is set up like an auction catalogue. That's why the long title, while not my favourite, works. The book is the full package.