World of Glass by Jocelyne Dubois

Louise Bourgeois's Araignée
World of Glass
Jocelyne Dubois
Quattro Books

World of Glass has recently been nominated for the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Award for Fiction.

Leaving la Ville Reine behind and her partner who has moved on, 30-year-old Chloé returns to her Québécois roots, landing a job at a fashion magazine selling ad space to high-end Montreal boutiques. This is a fresh start. She finds new love and explores la métropole, a city of dizzying possibilities. But there are indeed stresses, a lot to get used to. There is temptation and plenty of heady stimuli competing for attention. The reader, too, will experience this adrenaline and inability to focus through Dubois’ brilliant use of adjectives, once considered a no-no in fiction writing.

When a love interest sours, just as the twin towers crumble, Chloé falls into a fragile, rudderless realm, and the reader experiences the highly unsettling world of mental illness. Chloé’s return is a stiff climb, but she refuses to let her illness rule her life. She lives as openly and honestly as she did before, rediscovering love and creativity, with a realistic misstep along the way.

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is used too freely as a synonym for mood swings these days. World of Glass serves up the real thing, while successfully side-stepping the pill-popping shut-in narrative we all imagine. This novella gives a much-needed look at bipolar disorder and offers an accurate depiction of Montreal. Love can indeed be found at Toi, Moi & Café.

At only 93 pages, World of Glass offers an intense few hours of reading. It's a little like going to a restaurant for dinner, but only ordering what you really want--dessert.

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