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The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal Paperback – April 28, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press; 1 edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590513126
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590513125
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,173,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Kirkus Reviews

“A heavily embroidered coming-of-age tale.... Energetic....Full of sound and fury.”

Quill and Quire

“An unapologetically high-concept novel that is both giddy and reverential.”

Corduroy Books

The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal’s a fierce and challenging and spunky book, and it’s fun as hell...”

St. Petersburg Times

“It takes a gifted writer to bring back the days when some of us were gawky college kids, loud and pretentious and arty. Canadian Sean Dixon draws readers into a complex circle of people lurching into their 20s…It's structured like a screenplay, the camera moving swiftly from one setup to the next...[a] remarkably original new story.”

Michelle Kaye Malsbury, American Chronicle

“Sean Dixon weaves an interesting tale about how seemingly misfits with totally disjoined lifestyles and life experiences can come together in friendship and for a common cause…His characters draw the reader in and make them hungry to see what happens next. The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal is widely imaginative, part comedy-part tragedy, and most likely entirely improbable, but I found it hard to put down and quite enjoyable too.”

Bruce Bauman, author of And The Word Was

"Sean Dixon is a worthy successor to some of Canada’s foremost authors. He is in possession of an imaginative gift akin to Timothy Findley, the erudition and style of Robertson Davies and the off beat humor of Mordecai Richler. And like them, he is deserving of recognition and a following south of the border."

Michael Redhill, author of Consolation

"A sort of Tristram Shandy for the twenty-first century, Dixon’s first novel is an intellectual, sexual, logorrheic, bibliophilic, cryptological, political, and archaeological rant of the first order. It’ll blow your mind."

About the Author

Sean Dixon

Sean Dixon is a writer and actor. His work has been published in The Globe and Mail, This Magazine, Canadian Theatre Review, and Brick, A Literary Journal. Coach House Books published Dixon’s play collection, AWOL, and his young adult novel, The Feathered Cloak, was published by Key Porter. He lives and plays banjo in Toronto.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Sean was trying really, really hard to be wacky and out there.
Mark L. Elder
Not just reading the stories but bringing them to life through whatever means they feel are necessary to the book.
Rhianna Walker
If the characters were even slightly realistic or appealing to me, I would make more of an effort.
Juliet LosLamos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By avoraciousreader on September 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal
by Sean Dixon, 2009

Intricate and audacious, but the author pulls it off 5*

I'm seldom genuinely sad to see a book come to an end, but I had become so engrossed in the lives of the crew of unusual women (and token boys) who make up the Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women's Book Club (in the words of Du, "an intense little book club") that I felt like a kid moving out of town and losing his circle of friends, or maybe more aptly, a traveler heading home after the brief but intense camaraderie of the road. The characters were not all terribly likable, but were interesting, quirky and human

Now there are two extremes of stylistic ideal. In one, the writing is so transparent that one hardly notices it. Nothing seems to come between the reader and the characters, setting and action. This style seems so natural that one imagines it is effortless, but of course takes great skill and effort. If this is your favored read, approach this book with trepidation!

Then there is writing where the style itself is front and center, in your face, and "Last Days..." certainly falls toward that end of the spectrum. The conceit of the book is that it is written by two of the members (or former members) of the Club, Jennifer and Danielle, and their auctorial voice is sometimes clear as they address us directly in their own name(s), sometimes implicit in the narrative [e.g., "Do you remember when we mentioned the backpack that Neil found back in Chapter One?", p.71]. At other times, the narrative appears straightforwardly third person, yet the question of just how the narrators know, for instance, what a character was thinking at some moment, is never far from view -- and such considerations are often addressed directly.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I can't remember the last time I struggled so hard to finish a book! I would read a few pages, then go online and read a few reviews, shake my head and say to myself, "Really??!! People think it's mind blowing? Moving? Fun?". Then I would return to the book in the vain hope that I had missed something.
I found the writing to be painfully self-conscious. Sean was trying really, really hard to be wacky and out there. Every character had a weird flaw or penchant (a ghost in their mirror or covered in stripes) and the dialogue was a clunky collection of zany statements that seemed to be unconnected (and disconnected) to the characters around them.
And speaking of the characters. Even people who liked this book complained that the characters weren't fully formed. Everytime I felt that a character was starting to emerge out of the high-faluting fog and take form, they would do something so at odds with who they seemed to be that they would disappear again.
Good comedy often comes from a bed of tragedy and that seems to be the path here as most of the characters are dealing with loss of different kinds - death, loneliness, innocence. But it felt to me that these elements of grief were mere devices to try and flesh out what is after all a farce. And like all good farces, it is based around a quest. But what that quest was is never really made clear. In the end, it was a collection of appallingly dull, self-absorbed people running around play-acting roles from a mysterious ancient book of stones that can be read by a tiny girl with a broken foot (and wrist).
It's written with lots of footnotes and asides. The characters are either mortified or alarmed.
Supposedly this was first written as a play and it has a hammy, staged, high-school revue quality to it that bored me to tears.
So, so very disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
Sean Dixon, Author
The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal
Other Press, ISBN: 978-1-59051-312-5
296 pages
July 2009 Review for Bookpleasures
Reviewer-Michelle Kaye Malsbury, BSBM, MM
Sean Dixon, author of The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal, hails from Toronto, Canada and has published articles for The Globe and Mail, This Magazine, Joyland, Canadian Theatre Review, Akashic Books-Noir Series, and Brick, a literary journal. (Back cover) In addition to writing Mr. Dixon also enjoys acting and playing the banjo.

The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal takes place over a period of a few months in 2003 in Montreal Canada where winter gives way to spring. Eight young people from various backgrounds, of various ages, and from both genders, convene weekly, sometimes more often, in order to re-enact the books they read. The book is narrated by two of these young people, Danielle and Jennifer, who also add in their take on things as they transpire.

Originally this work (The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal) was intended to be a play and you can see this (intention) as you read the novel. The Lacuna Cabal began in Montreal, Canada as a women's forum for review of literary works. However, there is one character considering gender reassignment surgery and is currently male dressing as a female and two newcomers, both male who, hold leading parts, especially towards the middle-end of this tale, and one robot. (You will understand more about that if you select to read this book) The book being re-enacted in this novel between its participants is titled The Epic of Gilamesh and is widely supposed to be one of, if not the, oldest book in existence.
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