New from the Winner of the Writers' Trust of Canada Marian Engel Award and the Governor General's Award for English Fiction Once touted as compendiums of human knowledge, the encyclopedias and handbooks of bygone eras now read quaintly, if not comically--yet within their musty pages are often found phrases of uncanny evocative power. Scrupulously stitching such fragments together, in a sequel to the Governor General's Award-winning Forms of Devotion, By The Book is a collection of verbal and visual collages whose alchemies transform long-dead texts into tales of enduring vitality. With her visually witty full-colour artwork and stories like "What Is A Hat? Where Is Constantinople? Who Was Sir Walter Raleigh? And Many Other Common Questions, Some With Answers, Some Without," and "Consumptives Should Not Kiss Other People: A Handy Guide to the Care and Maintenance of Your Family's Good Health," Schoemperlen's irreverent and ironic brand of nostalgia combines vintage kitsch with comic, creepy, unexpectedly moving yarns. Praise for By The Book "Diane Schoemperlen's By The Book is a bravura performance.
Fragments, collage, assemblage, found poetry - none of the conventional words cover it for they miss the fantastic wit, the energy of humour, the divine ability to find comedic ore in the print detritus of our culture. She doesn't rescue texts; with her wicked sense of irony, she actually puts thought where there was none. She infects the banal with the virus of her own brain and makes it into art. Then she makes a picture of it--oh, dwell upon the details; there are whole novels lurking in the details."--Douglas Glover Praise for Diane Schoemperlen "Schoemperlen's inventive language and narrative structures encourage readers to be free 'from the prison of everyday thinking."--New York Times Book Review "Lovely, clever [and] imaginative."--Wall Street Journal "Cuttingly witty ...Schoemperlen could almost form a school of piquant and inventive fiction with Julie Hecht, Janet Kauffman, and Lydia Davis."--Booklist "There is no mistaking a Schoemperlen story--devoted to form, faithful to the mysteries of the everyday."--The Globe & Mail