Jowita Bydlowska’s GUY

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 12.10.46 PM.png

“It was both fascinating and disturbing to read Jowita Bydlowska’s debut novel, Guy, during the same week news broke of Donald Trump’s 2005 comments describing how he likes to treat (or rather, sexually assault) women. As the recorded revelation sparked a widespread discussion about what men really say about women behind closed doors, and while Trump defenders misguidedly tried to justify his vile remarks as nothing more than “locker room talk,” I was spending time inside the head of Bydlowska’s eponymous and misogynist lead character.” – Globe and Mail, October 2016

After the success of her addiction memoir, Drunk Mom (Doubleday Canada, 2013), Bydlowska’s debut novel, Guy (Wolsak and Wynn, 2016), is a departure in topic but not in style. The pared down prose is just as biting, the subject matter is dark yet humorous, and the antagonistic protagonist distressingly real.

The story is told from the perspective of a misogynist named Guy who has a dog named Dog. Guy and Dog stroll the waterfront outside his beach house while he rates the women around him on a scale of 1 to 10 and treats (or mistreats) them accordingly. But it isn’t beautiful women Guy enjoys singling out as conquests; it’s ‘plain girls’, the ones who will worship him long after he’s finished with them.

There’s something uncomfortable about reading Guy. But then again, that seems to be the point Bydlowska is making; you should be uncomfortable. The normalization of “locker room talk” is uncomfortable. The societal truths she so deftly reveals are uncomfortable. The novel sweeps you along in Guy’s fitness-obsessed, appearance-fixated life until the twist ending.

Jowita will be reading at “Shame: A Fictional Exploration” as part of the Off the Page Festival on November 5th, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. at 5605 Ave du Gaspe, #106. For event info, click here.




Those who attended March 2016’s Off the Page panel “A Queer is a Queer is a Queer” were lucky enough to witness a dynamic discussion between some of the most interesting voices in literature today, among them former Concordia student Zoe Whittall, a novelist and poet now based in Toronto. Her reading from her first book, Bottle Rocket Hearts, was especially poignant for many of the audience members, as its story grapples with issues still very much relevant today, told against the backdrop of Montreal during the 1995 referendum.

Zoe’s latest book, The Best Kind of People, from House of Anansi Press, is a 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist. It explores the aftermath of rape allegations leveled against the father, a prep school teacher revered for tackling a school shooter a decade prior. The family’s ostracism from their upper middle class suburban community,  and the powerlessness each member experiences as they locate themselves as individuals, propels a narrative that is both poetic and timeless. While Whittall has been working on the novel for the past six years, the topic of rape culture has been steadily gaining attention in that time, making the timing of the book extremely relevant.

Whittall will be returning to the Off the Page Festival this fall on November 3rd, 2016.



André Alexis Masterclass & Reading


Creative Writing students can sign up on Sina Queyras’ door LB 674.2 or email Space is limited.


Alexis will also be giving a reading at Librarie Drawn and Quarterly (211 Rue Beranrd Ouest) on Friday January 15th at 7pm.

Alexis’ debut novelChildhood (1997), won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and was a co-winner of the Trillium Award. His most recent novel, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and was shortlisted for theToronto Book Awards.”