I Am My Own Betrayal by Guillaume Morissette
Maison Kasini Books
Published by Maison Kasini Books on May 18, I Am My Own Betrayal by Guillaume Morissette is a fresh mix of stories and poems. He is a contributor to HTMLGiant, edits Ribbon Pig, an online literary publishing offshoot of Maison Kasini. He lives in Montreal where he studies creative writing at Concordia University. His writing has appeared widely in both online and print publications. I came across his writing earlier this year in Metazen and was struck by his poetry’s beauty and
This collection, Morisstte’s debut, is told with a lyrical precision that cuts right to the heart of multiple modern problems including anxiety, social networks, and the internet at large. At just over a hundred pages, the collection is short but doesn’t lack for plenty of emotionally honest and intellectually intriguing mome
nts. Being more of a fan of fiction, I steered towards the stories but his poetry had this weird ability to flow over me, cancelling out any preconceived notions of what a poem is and isn’t.
At times depressing yet still with a hopeful twinge, Morissette’s collection shuffles from despair to comedy in single paragraphs. This book has a little something for everyone (cliché but true.) Style, a unique voice, a vice grip command of language, pacing and structure, I Am My Own Betrayal is the future now. Morissette gives the reader the room to breathe and co-exist with his words, almost instantly producing a feeling of deep empathy and/or connectedness while also maintaining control of the larger picture and leading the reader on an eerily calming and insanely provocative ride.
Halfway through my first read I needed to take a break. Not because it was bad. Quite the opposite; the words moved me, brought me to the point where I felt the need to reassess my own existence. I felt like I’d just went through a marathon therapy session with someone who was infinitely smarter than me.
I read the book three times over the course of a week. I was planning on taking notes in the margins, a habit of mine, but instead I found myself underlining sentences and phrases like a mad man. His writing, when it didn’t make me pause and think, left me feeling like a drooling idiot, amazed at how he constructed sentences, how he put together ideas. For a while there I felt like I was in on a secret, like his writing was speaking out, reaching for me and only me.
With dialogue that is brutally minimalistic yet able to manufacture a deeper set of feelings and an astute eye for highlighting the everyday details that most of us blindly gloss over, Morissette has created a vision so crystal clear that I was left elevated.
It’s really hard to explain but reading this book took me back to when I was a boy and my father explained the game of baseball to me for the first time. At first it was confusing and I was just happy to be included, to be let in on this grown up thing that so many people felt so passionately about. Soon, as I grew more confident, I came to relish the inner workings of a beautifully executed double play or a hitter moving the runner over. After reading I Am My Own Betrayal I felt like that young boy again and that was well worth the read.