Book release party to take place at Beaumont Records, Fri. 24
“I feel like Saskatoon is a really interesting setting, and at the same time it is also not used a lot. It has its own distinct culture.”
In his debut novel Saskatoon Girls, author Michael Cuthbertson paints a vivid picture of his hometown amidst a coming-of-age story. A wild and reckless vignette where the main character, a quintessential romantic, watches his life unfold before him after consuming countless bottles of wine and kisses, the book simultaneously captures a backdrop that should be instantly recognizable to anyone remotely familiar with the city.
Almost immediately Saskatoon Girls begins referencing landmarks (“a big thrift store at the edge of town”) while the main character’s life is besot by a commonplace turmoil: kicked out of his house by his parents, he has to find an place to live and a job. Oh yeah, and what he wants out of life. More familiarity.
“It’s a work of fiction but it is very inspired by things in my life,” says Cuthbertson. “When you write a novel you are creating something that exists in its own world. I liked the idea of people recognizing places but things are distorted or embellished.
“I wanted to bring up the importance of weather without being cheesy about it. But in the winter its cold and people stay inside. And in the summer the world completely changes. And I think that is a Saskatoon experience.”
The main character Jake Patterson is a similarly recognizable figure. A musician and lover of music, particularly folk singer Townes Van Zandt, Patterson begins building up rocky relationships only to tear them down a few months later. But while there are elements of self-deprecation, he never loses his zest for blunder and exploit.
While Saskatoon Girls is his first novel, Cuthbertson also writes pieces for The MC Press, a website and zine that covers alternative opinions on politics and music. It has also provided an outlet for self-publishing.
“I published through The MC Press because there was already some familiarity there,” says Cuthbertson. “It’s a utilitarian coming-of-age story. It might not be considered important literature but I wrote about something that was important and I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to say and for those reasons it made sense to self-publish. I’m really happy with the product. I feel like I accomplished what I had in my head two and a half years ago from the initial seeds of what I had envisioned.”
And this Friday, Jan. 24, Cuthbertson will be launching Saskatoon Girls at Beaumont Records. Expect boozy drinks and a DJ spinning rock records. In short, a a party.