Catalogue


A description of the blazing world : a novel /
by Michael Murphy.
imprint
Calgary, Alta. : Freehand Books, c2011.
description
234 p. : port. ; 21 cm.
ISBN
1551117304 (pbk.), 9781551117300 (pbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
geographic term
More Details
imprint
Calgary, Alta. : Freehand Books, c2011.
isbn
1551117304 (pbk.)
9781551117300 (pbk.)
catalogue key
7655240
 
Purchase; DSO; 2011; RB293340.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
First Chapter
For lack of a better term, Dave is my brother. He’s also my mortal enemy, my arch-nemesis, the Borg to my Picard. Everything about him is the opposite of me. He does not listen to music. He hates movies, especially movies that are based on books. He always compares them to the books they were based on, and will talk over the movie whenever something happens that didn’t happen in the book. He says he hates TV too, though he watches more TV than anyone I know. Another thing he said, though I don’t have a record of it, is that reality programs are products of lazy writing. I told him that didn’t make any sense, and he said that’s because I’m an idiot, which doesn’t seem like a very good argument, especially coming from someone who dropped out of university after six years of wasted eff ort. He thinks that constantly reading detective stories and comic books, which he calls graphic novels, makes him an authority on everything. He has a whole bookcase in his office full of comics and he would definitely murder me in my sleep if he knew that I touched them. He sometimes falls asleep on the couch watching CNN, wearing idiotic tear-aways, or worn out jogging pants, his hand tucked under the elastic. It’s not uncommon to find his marbled tighty-whities on the bathroom floor, and only mildly shocking to see them elsewhere in the apartment.Dave works for this weird research firm most mornings and afternoons of the week. His job is to search for websites and companies that infringe the trademarks of other businesses. He says he must’ve inherited “journalistic genes,” because his research skills are “off the charts.” His words. He carries a green spiral notebook with him at all times, his proud account of his findings. It seems like such a ridiculous and pointless job for someone who went to school for as long as Dave went to school. But apparently there are thousands of thankless imitators out there floating around in cyberspace. He finds them, reports them to his boss, who then sells the information to the companies who own the original trademark. Dave acts like he’s some kind of new millennium private detective; I think he’s more like a glorified secret shopper. Does it really take a half-finished journalism degree to type key words into a search engine?Meanwhile, Dave claims he invented the term “splash guard.” That is (and only is) when you push the lip of your coffee cup lid into the cup, so when you’re driving the coffee doesn’t splash around and spill outside of the cup. I say this now only because it strengthens the argument that Dave is a ramrodded fuckerhead, and not my enemy simply for being my lookalike by a fifty-percent margin of error. When he’s not watching TV, Dave’s usually in his home office, door locked, probably looking up pictures of sheep. I don’t know anything else about what he does. He’s gone most of the time, and when I see him he’s virtually unpleasant. He smells like Tex-Mex. The odour has nothing to do with Val’s cooking. There’s not much else to say about this unwholesome man. He might weigh five hundred pounds. He probably only weighs about two hundred pounds, but when he sits on me, I certainly feel five hundred pounds. He will sit on a person just to prove his point. He sometimes takes my hands and slaps them against my face, then he says, “Stop hitting yourself,” over and over in the most annoying voice known to earthlings. He will also sometimes pin me to the ground and breathe in my nostrils, and ask me if his breath stinks. If I say yes, he will burp in my face as punishment. If I say no, he will say, “Well then, I guess you won’t mind if I do this,” after which he will proceed to burp in my face.Dave is probably the worst person I’ve ever met. Not only do I hate his guts, I hate his face, arms, legs, skin, his curly blonde hair, his disgusting half-beard, his stupid glasses, and the fact that he lives and has guts to begin with. If I could have plastic surgery on any part of my body, I think I’d give myself a new face, because my current face looks far too much like Dave’s. I don’t care if the doctors made me into a movie star or a Ferengi, just as long as they took Dave’s features out of mine. His hawkish nose. His miniscule eyes. Our similar faces might be why we hate each other so much. In my experience, physical similarities are enough of a reason to hate someone.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"With its fantabulous writing and labyrinthine teasing, A Description of the Blazing World makes me cheery and jubilant, even and especially when its characters are so miserable. Not one, but two protagonists roam through this startling debut novel, searching - literally - for themselves. Readers will join in as both young men pace the streets of Toronto, trusting these choose-your-own-map adventures, even as their choices unravel and expire. Funny, stirring, tender, smart, and smartass, Michael Murphy's fiction is ablaze with fiery insights."
" A Description of the Blazing World is timely, profound and telling. Itas misfit fiction at its finest." - The Toronto Star
" A Description of the Blazing World is timely, profound and telling. It's misfit fiction at its finest." - The Toronto Star
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
After Morgan Wells's wife leaves him, a postcard from France arrives. It is addressed to a Morgan Wells-but not the Morgan Wells who receives it. Desperate to be led out of his despair, Morgan decides to read the postcard as a sign and embark upon a surreal journey to find, observe, and meet the other Morgan Wellses in the city of Toronto. On the day that a 2003 citywide power outage submerges Toronto in darkness, a teenage boy finds a missive of his own: a copy of Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World, one of the first science fiction novels ever written. The boy, obsessed with the Choose Your Own Adventure series, interprets the coincidence of finding the book during the blackout as a premonition, and begins looking for proof that the end of the world is near. A Description of the Blazing World interlaces two narratives in a novel about the city in the new millennium: a crowded space that incubates signs of an apocalypse that never quite materializes. But it is this very threat of imminent danger-that everything could go up in blazes-that drives a reclusive man and a lonely boy to search for their respective revelations.
Main Description
After Morgan Wellsas wife leaves him, a postcard from France arrives. It is addressed to a Morgan Wellsa"but not the Morgan Wells who receives it. Desperate to be led out of his despair, Morgan decides to read the postcard as a sign and embark upon a surreal journey to find, observe, and meet the other Morgan Wellses in the city of Toronto. On the day that a 2003 citywide power outage submerges Toronto in darkness, a teenage boy finds a missive of his own: a copy of Margaret Cavendishas The Blazing World , one of the first science fiction novels ever written. The boy, obsessed with the Choose Your Own Adventure series, interprets the coincidence of finding the book during the blackout as a premonition, and begins looking for proof that the end of the world is near. A Description of the Blazing World interlaces two narratives in a novel about the city in the new millennium: a crowded space that incubates signs of an apocalypse that never quite materializes. But it is this very threat of imminent dangera"that everything could go up in blazesa"that drives a reclusive man and a lonely boy to search for their respective revelations.
Main Description
After Morgan Wells's wife leaves him, a postcard from France arrives. It is addressed to a Morgan Wells-but not the Morgan Wells who receives it. Desperate to be led out of his despair, Morgan decides to read the postcard as a sign and embark upon a surreal journey to find, observe, and meet the other Morgan Wellses in the city of Toronto. On the day that a 2003 citywide power outage submerges Toronto in darkness, a teenage boy finds a missive of his own: a copy of Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World , one of the first science fiction novels ever written. The boy, obsessed with the Choose Your Own Adventure series, interprets the coincidence of finding the book during the blackout as a premonition, and begins looking for proof that the end of the world is near. A Description of the Blazing World interlaces two narratives in a novel about the city in the new millennium: a crowded space that incubates signs of an apocalypse that never quite materializes. But it is this very threat of imminent danger-that everything could go up in blazes-that drives a reclusive man and a lonely boy to search for their respective revelations.

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