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by Louis Rastelli
Published by Citylights
In his powerful debut novel, Louis Rastelli presents the story of a twentysomething struggling musician who drifts through Montreal's music scene.
It's the end of the nineties, the end of the twentieth century, and the end of an era in the city's Plateau / Mile End district. Rastelli spins spontaneous tales of the artists and musicians, drunks and junkies, and punks and yuppies made neighbors by gentrification.
A calamitous ice storm and the looming Y2K are pondered between rounds at the local bar. An apartment is the scene of an impromptu cabaret one night and a church service the next. As the narrator races to save a friend's cats from appallingly casual human cruelties, he tests his faith in those around him, finding hints of solace in abandoned buildings and the home movies of strangers.
In a voice that transcends the vernacular yet stays remarkably true to it, Rastelli captures the fin-de-sicle mood while remaining both wise to and untainted by the apathy and cynicism of the times. Singularly evocative.