This week, I sang karaoke, I swam, I drank, I ate poutine, I rock climbed, I did coke, I went road biking, I ate hundred-buck plates, I did yoga while hungover, I made $4K in fifteen minutes, I took a selfie, I danced, I made out, I fucked in an alley, I read Nietzsche, I read gossip rags, I appeared in gossip rags, I drank wine at a movie opening, I was recognized on the street, I jogged, I despised a lot of people, I recounted the sum of all my combined wealth, beauty, money, youth, time--especially time--and I spent it all. Basically, I avoided asking myself questions.
Inspired by Erik Satie's work of the same name, Sports and Pastimes is the latest novel by acclaimed Montreal playwright and author Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard.
Translated by Aimee Wall (whose translation of Vickie Gendreau's Testament for BookThug in 2016 drew critical reviews), this fast-paced story follows the daily life, at once empty and overloaded, of a group of friends who spend all their energy trying to distract themselves with huge hits of endorphins, art and various substances, navigating pleasure and boredom, the extraordinary and the banal, as (more or less) worthy representatives of the best and worst of what their era has to offer.
Praise for Sports and Pastimes:
"The novel of rich, apathetic youth has been done so often that it has almost become a genre of its own, but rarely has it been written in Quebec with such mastery of its codes as by Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard." --Dominic Tardif, La Presse
"Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard's writing is so nailed-on perfect in capturing this version of twenty-first-century Montreal.... barely a page goes by without a pithy maxim, more often than not a sad reminder of our Facebook-obsessed society bent on instant gratification, one-liners for the empty, modern age.... At times, it's hard not to think of Guillaume Morissette and New Tab. But while Morissette's observations on modern life in Montreal are quirky, here the narrator's tone is almost always at least cynical, more often scornful and contemptuous.... [Sports and Pastimes is] so much fun... that it's hard to tear ourselves away.... Better to unfasten your seatbelt then, and sit back and enjoy the ride." --Peter McCambridge, Québec Reads