Book review: NEW TAB by Guillaume Morissette


Guillaume dodges the sophomore slump with his latest, New Tab, a semi-autobiographical take on underbelly city life and crippling self-doubt, two ideas that vary in magnitude. Montreal, as depicted by Gui, is lawless and completely dissimilar to our classical understanding of this picturesque town enhanced by our most famous literary exports. Imagine instead a much rougher appearance, and your favorite neighborhood looted by millenials. Wi-Fi signals are stolen with cash on stowaway. A young man's vision of desire is taken from him. Poor life choices lead to possible bereavement.

A network of relationships is at the core of this 'event'. As is Thomas' view on art for the sake of art. His self-awareness is not only a fundamental issue but also a hilarious plot device that conjures the best of the author's ability to alleviate and make sense of sadness.

The characters are intentionally homogenous to highlight Thomas' character. Shannon is especially well written. Her humorous quips in light of other more pressing issues are proof that Facebook chat is fast becoming a literary pastiche.

This is Guillaume's first full-length novel published through Véhicule Press. Guillaume's brand potential has almost overshadowed his overall end product, which raises important questions about the nature and the structure of Quebec's literary landscape. But his work far surpasses that, and its target audience is all consuming and ever expanding. Guillaume's anxiety is very much enjoyable as a second hand experience. If you happen to live in the Montreal area, you should try and hear him read a portion of New Tab while the getting is good.

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