Babble Book Club today 7:30pm EST: The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre

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Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture
Babble Book Club today 7:30pm EST: The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre

Our newest selection The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre comes courtesy of Sarah Kathryn York, a Torontonian author, and published by Coteau Books , an independent publisher out of Sasketchewan.

Quill and Quire give a positive review of the book stating:

 York manages to convey more magic and wonder than sadness, using biographical and historical research to recreate the lives of marginalized people like ranch hands, retired fighters, and circus freaks. She portrays Edouard as gentle, shy, handsome, and multilingual, and more intelligent than contemporary journalists gave him credit for being.

and giving prominence to these fundamental questions York raises in her story:

What is the relationship between the body and the life lived? And why are we simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by people who are exceptionally different from us?

This looks like an interesting read with a lot of techinical writing elements to it as well! And, as discussed in the selections thread, I am considering the final discussion date of Tuesday September 25 7:30pm EST/4:30pm PST. How does that work for everyone?

Happy reading!

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
Caissa

Ms. C picked up a copy for me last night. What a teeny-tiny book!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Really! Well that bodes well for all of us finishing it!

How many pages we talking here?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

From Quill and Quire

The book’s 206 pages correspond to the number of bones in the human body.

interesting.

It seems like there will be a lot of intricate details written within this book that maybe don't necessarily move the plot, but accentuate the story nonetheless. A Tarantino or Paul Thomas Anderson movie of Canadian books.

Caissa

It's teeny-tiny as in the physical dimensions. Smaller than a traditional paperback.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Ah. Foot in mouth

Wonder if that has any significance? 

 

Caissa

I'll let you know when I start reading it.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Haha thanks Caissa!

I also feel less intimidated by the fact that you don't think 206 pages is "teeny tiny" Wink

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

FREE BOOKS!

rabble.ca and Coteau Books are giving away two free copies of The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre!

Respond to business[at]rabble[dot]ca with (1) the correct answer to the trivia question and (2) your complete Canadian address and you could win!

Our trivia question is: What was author Kevin Chong trying to parallel in his attempts to explore the nature of beauty and family in his novel Beauty Plus Pity?

Good Luck!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

We still have one free copy of The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre up for grabs!

Take a stab at the trivia question and respond to business@rabble.ca for a chance to win!

What was author Kevin Chong trying to parallel in his attempts to explore the nature of beauty and family in his novel Beauty Plus Pity?

bound but not gagged bound but not gagged's picture

Yay! Author Sarah Kathryn York will be joining us in the book lounge on Tuesday September 25 7:30 p.m. EST to discuss her novel The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Been doing some reading up on the Willow Bunch Giant aka Edouard Beaupre and apparently he lifted an 800lb horse. I'm skeptical, unless this man was secretly Pippi Longstockings that is.

My book has been delayed in arriving, so I haven't started yet, but I am interested to see how this book tackles the myth and the reality of Edouard Beaupre. 

Caissa

I finished it. Despite having voted for it, I don't think it is my favourite BBC selection.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

That's fair Caissa.

What are some of the reasons it wasn't your favourite, or you perhaps didn't like it?

Caissa

I just didn't find the plot as compelling as the other works of fiction we have read.

It was an okay read and I don't regret having read it.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

What do you think would have improved the story for you?

I have not been able to start reading it because my copy is delayed in the mail unfortunately, but I have read that the author took the unsensationalized route of the narrative focusing more on the concept of what it means to be 'human' as opposed to focusing on the story of a giant. Is that true?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Grr, I am still waiting on my copy of this book. Looks like another power read is in my future. 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Hey everyone, our discussion with author Sarah Kathryn York is coming up on this Tuesday 25 7:30pm EST! Hope everyone got a chance to read up and is excited to come to the discussion!

Sarah will be answering all your questions for one hour on Tuesday and is very excited!

If you are unable to make it on Tuesday, feel free to drop your questions in the thread or facebook group and we will make sure they get to Sarah on Tuesday!

See you then!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

TODAY is our discussion with author Sarah Kathryn York who will be joining us at 7:30pm EST right here!

Sarah's tale of Edouard Beaupre weaves fiction and biography together to explore the humanity of this famed Canadian giant and his effect on those around him. Everyone is encouraged to ask their questions and leave comments for Sarah who will be here for one hour to provide the answers!

Looking forward to the conversation and hearing from everyone tonight!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Also, to gear up for the conversation, a quick video of Sarah Kathryn York discussing her novel as well as the research process that went into it and how english as a subject continues to evolve for her.

Caissa

Interesting video.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The time is awkward for me today, since I will likely be commuting home or just about to start it, but I'd like to get in on the discussion action if I could. I'll check up on the goings on later!

The thing that most interested me about this book was the conceit of storytelling-as-anatomy. York draws this explicitly to our attention with the 206-bones/206-pages tidbit, and the chapter headings. I'd like to hear more about the connection between the body and the story that body tells. I like the idea of the tension between a body and the life inside it, but with "anatomy" figuring so prominently in the book, I feel like the story a body tells, particularly so fleshy a body as Eddie's, through its scars and sutures and tumours, to be critical to this novel. Especially since York herself is doing a kind of a literary autopsy with Edouard's corpse. Is writing a kind of anatomical detective work, or what?

I also like the points where the massive body of Edouard is missing -- one of the most emotional moments comes when his father is not allowed access to his son's body--yet his connection to Eddie is rarely stronger. On the contrary, it's Edouard's empty coat, empty bed and empty shoes, which have the largest impact.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@catchfire bummer the time is awkward -- time zones are so difficult to plan and accomodate! 

Would love if you could pop by, but either way we will get those questions asked. Had a few similar ones myself and I bet a lot of others have overlapping ones too. Thanks for leaving your questions!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

10 minutes until conversation with author Sarah Kathryn York! Laughing

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Give us an extra minute -- we're having technical difficulties!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Hi everyone, our techinical difficulties are being a bit strange, so what we are going to do for the moment until we can fix things, is I will relay the answers from sarah onto babble for you guys!

Sorry about the strange format for right now!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Okay so here we go makeshift style!

First off: thank you Sarah Kathryn York for joining us tonight!

 

Sarah:

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for inviting me to the club and for having me. I'm thrilled and appreciate your time and patience with this technical business!"

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

first question to get the ball rolling:

Why did you decide to tackle the story of the Willow Bunch Giant and create a fictionalized biography? What drew you to the story of Edouard Beaupre and presenting him as more than a pathological giant?

 

alex alex's picture

Hi Sarah!

Pleased that you could join us tonight! Welcome :)

jrose

Boo to technical difficulties! Great first question. I wondered the same thing the whole time I read.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

Thanks, everyone.

I was taken by Edouard's story for a number of reasons, and I really wanted to shake up this constant narrative of him as a giant, as reductive in that way. I wanted to find out who he might have been, to get into his story, to discover what other narratives were out there.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hi Sarah! Welcome and thanks for joining us!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

I felt very strongly about this, for a number of reasons. Also, fiction allowed me to engage the humanity of the characters and to fill in the blanks as it were. It started as a biography, changed to creative non-fiction, and landed as fiction. My early readers liked some of the imagined parts best, thoough it's laden with research and Edouard's own words.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

yay! Catchfire! Alex! You made it!

alex alex's picture

I thought it was a bit unfair of @Catchfire to jump the gun with his commuting sob story and then ask *my* question before our chat had even begun!

For the record, I had also wanted to ask Sarah about the anatomy structure of the book :)

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

I love some of the earlier comments, by the way. Hopefully, we can explore some of that later... 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Haha @alex

POST IT NOW! POST IT NOW!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

Sure. @ Catchfire, Alex, and jrose, thanks to all. Alex - funny. I hope it's a safe commute!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

@Alex: regarding the structure, Anatomy was a framework as well as a subject. It allowed me to play with questions about embodiment, identity, and life experience, to sort of shake up the public emphasis on Edouard’s frame. There are several different ways that ‘anatomy’ works in the book, and works for different characters, and I wanted to create some tension there.  It also had to do the narrative layering of stories and points of view, and the structure of the book, so the book is an anatomy as well. One idea was to gather the scattered parts of Edouard -all the scraps of memories, interviews, facts, different perspectives of him - and gather them together in a whole piece. It’s a bit unsatisfying, because we feel that it doesn’t really produce a ‘whole’ person. Neither does the reduction of him to a giant, if you see where I’m going. Hope this makes sense!

jrose

I'm having technical difficulties on my end now and have to restart! But I'll be back to catch up in a few minutes!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

That does make sense!

Why did you decide to provide the story in two perspectives: the Montreal doctor and Edouard Beaupre? Why is the Doctor's point of view important?

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

@jrose: good luck!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

[a quick catch up: Sarah's comments are posted under my username but in bold and denoted as Sarah. My comments are in roman. Sorry for any confusion!]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It's hard to think of a more "embodied" subject than Edouard. Do you work with embodiment in your graduate research, Sarah? In the video Kaitlin posted above you talk a bit about the relationship between the critic and author in you--but I wonder how the actual topic of your research relates to the themes in your novel you just outlined. Are they the same? Close?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

@Kaitlin: another great question. Descending into the story through someone who encountered Edaourd's body first - which toured so long - seemed natural in a lot of ways, and counterbalanced the more intimate narratives. There was a real article I encountered by J.M. Blais who really radiographed Edoaurd @ UMontreal, and for a while, we tried to use the images. My character is not at all based on him, but is imaginary. It had to do with obsession and that bridge between the legend and the man, and I certainly got a bit obsessed myself, in a different, happier way!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

(I've got to run, but I'll try to stay tuned on my phone! Thanks again, Sarah!)

alex alex's picture

(oh geez, I just caught on that Sarah's text is in bold under Kaitln's account - I was slow to realize that!)

Thanks for the response Sarah, I was impressed at the detail included in the book and wondered about your research process...how much material did you draw from? How much of the book is fiction/non-fiction?

I was in Saskatchewan this summer and came this close to visiting his statue in Willowbunch!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

@Catchfire: my studies involve a lot of intersections between embodiment and narrative, and I have more recently gotten into this with aesthetics and disability studies also. I have a literary and creative writing background across degrees, but I also am very multidiscplinary, like my social, medical history lectures on "Freaks and Porn." I'm all over the place, but you make a great point! It IS hard to imagine a more embodied subject, and that's one of the points I guess- how that pushes us into harder questions, and frees us at the same time (I hope)!

alex alex's picture

And, Catchfire, again steals my question...apparently I'm wayyy too slow :)

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Sarah:

@ Alex, oh you should go! That's wonderful. And thanks. It was heavy research over about 3 years. I had to dig up some things even from retired conceirges and all that ... it was nuts. There was a great deal of importance to me in getting things right, and most of what is known about him, even in 'trusted' forums is mixed, convoluted, or misrepresented. Some things are fiction, more having to do with scenes. The dance scene is invented for instance. The smoky palmist.

jrose

And to add to Alex's question, how long did your research process take?

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