Category Archives: The Magical APOL Book Tour

The View from Mount Royal

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This week, APOL arrived in Montreal to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the city’s founding, and to flog itself shamelessly to potential readers. (Plus ça change, as they say in La Belle Province.)  Montreal is the setting of many great novels, including Gabrielle Roy’s The Tin Flute, Mordecai Richler’s entire canon, Rawi Hagi’s Cockroach, and The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen.

The latter was Cohen’s first novel. It was rejected by publisher Jack McClelland, who was concerned that it was tedious, preoccupied with sex, and too autobiographical. Cohen shopped the book around and finally placed it with publishers in the UK and US, who requested a shorter book. Cohen cut the manuscript in half. As he told fellow Montrealer Irving Layton, “anyone with an ear will know I’ve torn apart orchestras to arrive at my straight, melodic line.” The resulting novel sold barely a thousand copies. One wonders at all that was cut.

Predictably, APOL’s Montreal schedule tilted out of control when it went on a crawl of Mordecai Richler’s favourite bars to meet the local literati. After loudly comparing itself to Duddy Kravitz (perhaps a fitting comparison, character-wise), it was tossed out of Grumpy’s on Bishop, whence it repaired to Winnie’s on Rue Crescent. After an impromptu reading there, and a bum’s rush out the door, it was last seen near dawn outside the Ritz-Carlton, demanding to be admitted to the long-defunct Maritime Bar.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

Searching for Meaning in Kathmandu

APOL – Nepal

APOL’s visit to Kathmandu this week was dominated not by the commercial striving with which it is indelibly associated, but by a spiritual quest. During its stay, it was observed in a succession of Hindu temples, conversing earnestly with priests, sadhus, and other holy men, questioning the purpose of its fictional life.

APOL is not the first entertainer to seek meaning in Hindu spirituality. In 1968, the Beatles sequestered themselves in the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in northern India. The product of their retreat was the brilliant White Album, with its austere, white cover containing no graphics or text. Might the vain and showy APOL ever accept such self-effacement? No. After due consideration, APOL could not bring itself to renounce its worldly life. There were, however, certain tenets of Hinduism that appealed to it – such as reincarnation. In its next life, APOL wants to come back as a hardcover.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

 

At the Hundredth Meridian

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The Hundredth Meridian, as any fan of the Tragically Hip knows, is where the Great Plains begin, and this week APOL began its tour there as it crossed into the mixed-grass prairie west of the Mississippi River. The area is known to history as the Missouri Territory; more recently it has been disparaged as “fly-over country”; but APOL will have none of that. Seven states, ranging from the Dakotas in the north to Texas in the south, straddle the Hundredth Meridian, and they have a combined population of 38 million. That’s a lot of potential readers. What’s more, in a region where you can sit on your porch and watch your dog run away for three days, they’re easy to spot.

The Missouri Territory performs a cameo in Poplar Lake, APOL’s sequel, which will be released in fall, 2018.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

APOL Enters British Library

 

This week, APOL wormed its way past security and into the collection of the British Library. Rather than gather with the hoi polloi (there are more than 150 million items housed by the Library), the status-conscious APOL quickly gravitated to the Quality items among the collection. Its companions during its stay included a Gutenberg Bible, the original manuscript of Handel’s Messiah, a surviving copy of the Magna Carta produced in 1215, and the complete Downton Abbey on DVD.

APOL’s visit to the Library was brief. After the requisite photo op, it hightailed it for the nearest Waterstones bookstore. “To business that we love we rise betimes, and go to’t with delight,” it said, slipping into the local dialect to connect with local readers.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

Fighting for “Despacito”

APOL - Kuala Lumpur 1 -KL Tower

APOL has arrived in Kuala Lumpur to lead a protest against the Malaysian government’s broadcast ban on the hit song “Despacito.”  The ban came after local complaints about the song’s steamy lyrics and “sexy” content.

APOL appeared at the KL Tower where it delivered an impassioned speech in support of artistic freedom to anyone who would listen. Controversy quickly erupted, with accusations levelled against APOL that in espousing this cause it was merely seeking publicity for itself. There appeared to be some truth to the accusation. “Despacito” is wildly popular around the world. Singer Luis Fonsi’s original single, and a remix featuring Justin Bieber, topped the charts this year in 45 countries around the world. To date, it has been viewed 2.6 billion times on YouTube, and has 15 million likes. It is the most-streamed song of all time, having received 4.6 billion plays worldwide in just six months.

“This isn’t about me,” APOL huffed in response to the criticism, while carefully turning its cover towards the cameras. “I’d be happy with one or two percent of those numbers.”

“Despacito” means “slowly” in Spanish. The song’s title is said to be a reference to the speed of Luis Fonsi’s seduction technique. A Person of Letters, the novel which APOL is on tour to promote, may be read slowly, but is best consumed quickly and with mad passion.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

Among the Thousand Islands

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This week the APOL tour hit Upstate New York, where its first port of call was Boldt Castle, one of the area’s major landmarks, on Heart Island. Begun in 1900, destined to become one of the largest private homes in the United States, it was, sadly, never completed.

Unlike Boldt Castle, A Person of Letters was completed, a fact of which APOL is intent on informing the world. Embarking from Heart Island, it’s cover showing the steely blue determination it has become famous for, it set off in search of readers in the Thousand Islands archipelago. “One down, nine hundred and ninety-nine to go,” it was heard telling a friendly crewman.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

In Quest of Spanish Eyes

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This week, the APOL tour hit historic Granada, seat of the last Moorish kingdom in Spain and site of the magnificent palace complex known as the Alhambra. Originally built as a fortress on Roman foundations, it was rebuilt and expanded into a palace by the Emir of Granada. In 1492 the Emirate fell to Ferdinand and Isabella, who expelled the Moors and made the Alhambra their Royal Court. It was there that Columbus came to secure their consent to his crazy idea of sailing west to get to the East.

Granada has long been a source of inspiration for writers, from Washington Irving (Tales of the Alhambra) to Salman Rushdie (The Moor’s Last Sigh). Perhaps by taking its tour to Granada APOL was hoping to inspire (or distract) its own author, after news of the pending publication of Thompson’s new novel Poplar Lake was trumpeted on the internet. APOL is known to be jealous of the attention Thompson has given his follow-up to A Person of Letters.

This is not the only thing APOL resents about its author. “Just why, WHY, does he insist on referring to himself in the third person?” it complained to the regulars in a Sacromonte taberna (who in a very short time had become fast friends). “That’s just nuts.”

“You wanna talk nuts?” Thompson reacted angrily when reached for comment. “What about a book that goes on tour by itself? That’s just—” But he stopped himself before completing the thought.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

We Stand On Guard For Thee

APOL - Niagara, Queenston Hts 6

To mark Canada’s 150th birthday, APOL is on Queenston Heights, where in 1812 a combined force of British regulars, Canadian militia, and First Nations warriors repulsed an American army—and saved Canada.

British General Sir Isaac Brock died leading a charge up the heights, and when his Canadian aide-de-camp John Macdonnell assumed command of the assault, he too was killed. Today a memorial column stands atop the Niagara escarpment to commemorate the victory that was ultimately won, and the battle’s fallen. A statue of General Brock stands in silent vigil atop the massive pillar, a reminder of the cost of Canadian sovereignty and independence.

Happy Birthday, Canada. Chi-miigwech, to all those who Stand on Guard. And Happy Canada Day, world.

(A different type of American invasion has occurred in Canada over more recent decades. Today, the Canadian retail landscape is dominated by American chains. Perhaps it is more benign form of invasion than that of 1812, but it remains a sore point for APOL, which has yet to win shelf space at Walmart or Price Club. Perhaps it will seize these heights in due course. In the meantime, though, A Person of Letters is readily available on the American behemoth Amazon’s many domestic and international platforms.  Readers everywhere are encouraged to support this hard-fought bridgehead.)

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

The Book from Ipanema

APOL - Brazil

APOL is in Rio de Janeiro, famous for its natural beauty and for Carnival, samba, and bossa nova. In other words, PARTY TOWN! Brazil may be in the grip of a political and economic crisis, but an air of revelry pervades its second largest city. Perhaps it is fitting that its horizon is dominated by the ten story statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain—there is a lot of redemption required in Rio, and on a daily basis. Just ask any tourist, or any state or federal politician—if you can find one not yet in jail.

For once, APOL steered clear of controversy during its Rio stopover, preferring the scene on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches to politics.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

Among the Bluenosers

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APOL is touring historic Nova Scotia, home of lobster, cèilidh, and the Bluenose, the legendary racing schooner that was never defeated. Nova Scotia has a proud literary tradition. The province is the setting for classic works such as The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill, Fall on Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald, and Barometer Rising, by Hugh MacLennan. And speaking of literature:  “Canada’s Atlantic playground” is also the birthplace of Genny Patersdotter, the heroine and beloved foil for the narrator of A Person of Letters. It is revealed in Person’s forthcoming (2018) prequel, Poplar Lake, that the fictional Patersdotter hails from Antigonish.

At appearances in Nova Scotia, APOL wore its rare field grey livery, a limited edition cover highly prized by collectors and going for a considerable premium on eBay. Fortunately, list price copies are still available on Amazon and better bookstores everywhere, and directly from the author.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.