Fond Memories: Norm Sibum Launches The Traymore Rooms, Sept 18th

Ah, the memories.

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of acting as booksellers for Norm Sibum‘s long-awaited 600+ page epic The Traymore Rooms, with special appearance and introductions from past Argo Featured Readers Eric Bennett and Donald McGrath. The reading took place at Bar CFC (6388 Rue Saint-Hubert), a great stonewalled venue with a dungeon’s charm. Our thanks go out to the readers and the owner of the bar, who was able to open up shop for us that night. If you’d like to see all of the photos from that night, head on over to our Facebook page to view the album!

Here’s an introduction, written by Biblioasis editor and publisher Dan Wells, that was read by Eric Bennett:

“I have been saying for some time, and only half-jokingly, that Norm Sibum’s The Traymore Rooms is the novel which almost toppled a publishing house. Indeed, it still might: just mailing out review copies across North America and to the UK is creating enough red ink to keep me up nights. When I first read an earlier incarnation 3 or 4 years ago, I was carried away by a wave of enthusiasm for it, for the writing, the characters, for its pure ambition. I wanted Biblioasis to be equally ambitious. I agreed to publish it, and then almost immediately began to worry: How the hell were we going to pull this off?

It’s one of the reasons that it took so long to bring this to print. To be frank: The Traymore Rooms scared the hell out of me. I was worried that my deep affection for the author had me rush into something I could not handle, either as editor or publisher. I questioned my judgement; indeed, I questioned my sanity.

I need not have worried so much. When I finally revisited The Traymore Rooms, I was immediately reminded of what it was which had so intrigued me to begin with. Traymore is by turns charming, funny, beautiful, thoughtful, frustrating, gossipy, horrifying, exhausting, infuriating and love-filled. I have come to think of it as almost purgatorial, a novel of moral exhaustion and failure which does speak very much to the times. It is a novel of real ambition, bravado, intelligence, humanity, and style, and is carried by one of the most compelling voices and characters I’ve come across as a publisher, editor and, indeed, as a reader. And if this voice and character would be identifiable to most here tonight as seeming an awful lot like that of the author we’re here to fete, well, so much the better for it. I have no doubt that, however long Biblioasis may indeed stay in the ring as a publisher in these uncertain times, whether it be another year or thirty, The Traymore Rooms will be one of a handful of books which people point to as being part of the press’s legacy. Eric Ormsby, one of the earliest readers of it, told me that it has all of the makings of an underground classic, and I fully agree with him. I’m immensely proud and grateful to have been able to help bring The Traymore Rooms into the light, and congratulate Norm on his launch, and wish that I could be there with all of you to celebrate.”


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