Daily Archives: October 12, 2010

Adam Gopnik at Frye Festival Community Read

From Moncton’s Times & Transcript

Adam Gopnik to make appearance on Oct. 29 at city hall

A New York Times bestselling author will appear in Moncton later this month during the Frye Festival’s Fall Community Read.

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Adam Gopnik, a writer for The New Yorker, will appear in the lobby of Moncton City Hall on Friday, Oct. 29 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The event will be followed by a reception with refreshments.

Born in Philadelphia but raised in Montreal, Gopnik left the familiarities of New York City in 1995 for the charm of Paris. His wife and their infant son went along, and for five years they tried to catch on to the quirks of French culture. Gopnik recorded his experiences, frustrations and delights in his “Paris Journal” for The New Yorker, which won him awards.

A collection of the Paris Journals was published in 2000 by Random House as “Paris to the Moon.”

“We encourage everyone to come discover this bestselling and award-winning author,” says Frye Festival executive director Danielle LeBlanc. “The way Gopnik relates the meeting of two cultures in Paris to the Moon fittingly reflects the realities of our daily lives here in Moncton.”

Those who want to read some of Gopnik’s work before the event can go to www.frye.ca.

A reading guide with information on the author and chapter summaries is also available on the website.

Admission to the event is “pay what you can,” with donations requested.

The Frye Festival’s Community Read series presents bilingual authors whose books are available in translation. The aim is to encourage dialogue between the linguistic communities by rallying them around one author and one book.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”


From the film adaptation: “the answer to life, the universe, everything”

On this date in 1979 Douglas Adams published The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which eventually became the first of a six-part “trilogy.”  This particular work will require two separate entries: one on science fiction and the other on satire.

Frye on science fiction in “The Bridge of Language”:

The same principle applies to science fiction, which is a form of romance, continuing the formulas of fantasy, Utopian vision, Utopian satire, philosophical fiction, adventure story, and myth that have been part of the structure of literature from the beginning.  What the hero of a science fiction story finds on a planet of Arcturus, however elaborate and plausible the hardware that got him there, is still essentially what heroes of earlier romances found in lost civilizations in Africa or Asia.  The conventions of literature have to take over at some point, and what we see, in science fiction no less than in Homer and Dante, is, in the title of a seventeenth-century satire set on the moon, mundus alter et adem, another world, but the same world. (CW 11, 320-1)

On “satire of the low norm” in Anatomy, which explains, among other things, why the Hitchhiker’s Guide itself is famously inscribed with the words “DON’T PANIC!”:

[The satire of the low norm] takes for granted a world which is full of anomalies, injustices, follies, and crimes, and yet is permanent and undisplaceable.  Its principle is that anyone who wishes to keep his balance in such a world must learn first to keep his eyes open and his mouth shut. . . The [hero] of the low norm takes an attitude of flexible pragmatism; he assumes that society will, if given any chance, behave more or less like Caliban’s Setebos in Browning’s poem, and he conducts himself accordingly.  On all doubtful points of behaviour convention is his deepest conviction.  (CW 22, 211)

“Dent.  Arthur Dent.”