“There are moments when, thinking of words or of writing, I can still feel the strength of my commitment to the art form that has chosen me,” declares the widely admired Toronto writer and critic André Alexis in Beauty and Sadness (House of Anansi), his 2010 collection about the powers and pains of literature. It’s a statement that reflects the rewards implied by the first word in his book’s title. And throughout Beauty and Sadness, the author expresses his devotion to “literary universes” through unique blends of fiction and autobiography.
The title’s last word, sadness, deeply colours the closing essay, “Water: A Memoir”, a personal lament for literary culture in Canada, which Alexis says is drifting into serious decline.
He’ll speak about these loves and anxieties at 7 p.m. tonight (February 10), at the UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, as part of the Robson Reading Series
Joining him will be UBC clinical professor of psychiatry Harry Karlinsky, there to discuss his own debut novel, The Evolution of Inanimate Objects (Insomniac Press).
Admission is free.