Darwin Alone In The Universe by M.A.C. FarrantDarwin Alone In The Universe by M.A.C. Farrant

Darwin Alone In The Universe

byM.A.C. Farrant

Paperback | March 15, 2003

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These new, off-side stories continue M.A.C. Farrant's exploration of the relation of fiction to the evolving corporate construction of reality in the media and information age. Objective reality (what's out there) in our culture has become a performance of make-believe (fiction), and the disassociation and confusion this causes in our private lives often triggers uncontrollable tragi-comic effects in people-a deadening lethargy and/or a destructive violence acted out in a context of the most excruciatingly bright banalities.Reading The Origin of the Species today, we realize that the prevailing view of the universe is always only that-the prevailing view-and that the job at hand is therefore to discover the constantly recurring human "will to meaning," the ways in which we frame existence, sustaining ourselves in the face of what we continue to convince ourselves is the inevitable. Darwin Alone in the Universe stands against the view that we live in a "post-historical" world in which whatever history we now possess is served up as the current spectacle in a tyranny of the perpetual "now." It is a reaffirmation of history as a process that clears a path through the world, making sense of making sense, temporarily. In this, or any world, literature becomes an antidote to thestranglehold the corporate media has on the public's imagination, and is the place where uncontaminated thought can still be found, "where individual voices surface relentlessly like life-rings in a wild sea."
M.A.C. Farrant M.A.C. Farrant is the acclaimed author of nine previous collections of satirical and humourous short fiction, and two works of non-fiction. Farrant's work is infused with acerbic wit and iconoclastic innovation. As the Globe & Mail has noted, "Farrant is better at startling us with unnerving, often misanthropic visi...
Title:Darwin Alone In The UniverseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:March 15, 2003Publisher:Talon Books LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889224714

ISBN - 13:9780889224711

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Read from the Book

darwinAttila the Booksellerexcerpted fromdarwin alone in the universefor review onlyAttila the BooksellerIansweredthe ad: SWM likes to dance. Called him up(said his name was Jay), suggested wemeet at the localcafe Tuesday night, somethingdifferent, a performance poetperforming. Free coffee and cookies,the place rocking withmiddle-aged angst.He shows up, dark haired, pink-cheeked,somewhere inhis forties, wearing a yellow plasticrape alarm attached tohis waist. “I’ll be wearing a blackturtleneck,” I’d said. Watchhim approaching several other womenfirst, also in blackturtlenecks, fresh lipstick, cleannails. Finally catch his eye,wave him over; we shake damp hands.Tell him my name isSerena.The emcee stands before the audience,says, “Thank youfor coming.” Says, “Tonight we havefrom England, freshfrom a cross-Canada tour, Attila theBookseller!”Attila comes forward, a small man,chubby, late thirties,wearing a black turtleneck sweater,black pants, black watchcap. Says, “Thank you very muchit’s great to be here.” Says,“I’ve got books and tapes for saleafter the show.”Begins performing. Screams the word“vomit.” Shouts,“Libyan Students From Hell.”Shouts, “Love is like twomaggots colliding at the bottom of adirty pail.”34Jay whispers, “Excuse me,” anddeparts for the back of thecafe.Attila grabs his mandolin, sings a songcalled “GRRRR.”Sings, “I’m a Rapping Mole from aLeaky Hole.” Sings,“Every time I eat vegetables it makesme think of you.”The audience giggles, claps. A man witha grey beard yells,“Awright!”Jay returns with coffee for himself andtwo chocolate chipcookies, also for himself.Attila gets serious, wipes his brow,says he’s got somethingheavy to read, says he wrote it lastweek and hopes he can getthrough it, a poem about a young motherdying from cancer.He gets through it, voice trembling.Beside me Jay is crying silently—wetcheeks, quiveringjaw.Attila picks up his mandolin again,asks, “Do you want tohear more?” Someone yells, “Go forit!!” And Attila reads:“Here’s to you the septic few,here’s to ’84 and ’5 when allour dreams took another dive … ”It goes on for fifteen minutes.When he’s done he delivers his pitch,shows us where hisbooks are stacked on a table by thewall, thirty copies of asingle title and tapes by the samename. Tells us he’s one ofthe few poets he knows making a livingoff his work. Sayshe’s been all over—Australia, theStates, Germany—andhe’s been doing this for fifteenyears. Says he’s a dedicatedman.He’s selling books by the fist load;there’s a line-up at thebook table. He’s charging twentydollars for a sixty-two-page35book that has a clearly marked price offive pounds on thecover. “One at a time,” he’stelling the crowd. “Easy does it.”A woman in a wheelchair who’s beenparked behind meleans forward and taps me on theshoulder. “You know,” shesays proudly, “I’m also a writer… I wonder if you’d movethese chairs out of the way so I canget to the book table.”She’s anxious Attila will sell allhis books before she getsthere. “Save one for me!” sheshouts above the din.I personally wheel her to the table.“Excuse me, please,make way … ”When I return to my table, Jay hasgone.I pack up to leave the café. By nowAttila has sold all hisbooks and tapes and is arguing with theemcee. Saying, “Canyou give me another two hundred for thereading? Saying, “Iknow we agreed on the price, but go askyour Arts Council,okay?”Dancing through the doorway by myself..36DARWIN ALONE IN THE UNIVERSEM.A.C. FarrantTALONBOOKS2003Copyright © 2003 M.A.C. FarrantTalonbooksP.O. Box 2076, Vancouver, BritishColumbia, Canada V6B 3S3www.talonbooks.comTypeset in Scala and printed and boundin Canada.First Printing: April 2003No part of this book, covered by thecopyright hereon, may be reproducedor used in any form or by anymeans—graphic, electronic or mechanical—without prior permission of thepublisher, except for excerpts in areview. Any request for photocopying ofany part of this book shall bedirected in writing to Access Copyright(The Canadian CopyrightLicensing Agency), 1 Yonge Street,Suite 1900, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaM5E 1E5; Tel.:(416) 868-1620; Fax:(416)868-1621.National Library of Canada Cataloguing in PublicationDataFarrant, M. A. C. (Marion AliceCoburn), 1947-Darwin alone in the universe / M.A.C.Farrant.ISBN 0-88922-471-4I. Title.PS8561.A76D37 2003 C813’.54C2003-910126-6PR9199.3.F355D37 2003The publisher gratefully acknowledgesthe financial support of theCanada Council for the Arts; theGovernment of Canada through the BookPublishing Industry DevelopmentProgram; and the Province of BritishColumbia through the British ColumbiaArts Council for our publishingactivities. 

Editorial Reviews

"M.A.C. Farrant is a wonderful writer of domestic comedy."