Optique

Clayton Bailey

Each story in Clayton Bailey's Optique pivots around an intense emotional relationship with a photograph. From drugstore-developed snapshots to formal portraits, the pictures are all of people, an absent you obsessively pursued through the viewfinder of Bailey's unsettling prose. Often talismans against the violent pain of displacement, ultimately each image and each story reaffirms the eternal capacity of the photograph-and photography's splendid consort, light--to expose the intricacies of the human soul.

The images in the stories span a century and a half-from digital to daguerreotype. In one story, a woman and a man, the possibility of love in the air, separate after discovering harsh pornography on a camera's memory card. In another, a girl watches her brother drown through the crystal-clear ice of a frozen river; his last act is to look at the photograph of his son he keeps in his breast pocket. A soldier in a civil war has a daguerreotypist make a double exposure of him in his dead twin's uniform so their mother will think they are both alive.

Esplanade
Fiction 2006

Reviews


"Heart-rending, breathtaking, thought-provoking." -Globe and Mail

"Layered, suspenseful, heartbreaking, and totally engaging." -Books in Canada

Clayton Bailey's first book, The Expedition, was nominated for the 2003 Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Quebec Writers' Federation's McAuslan First Book Prize. He has written several short films, including People at Work: The Right to Refuse, which won the American Film Festival's Red Ribbon Award. He was born in Marquette, Manitoba, and teaches film production at the Université de Montréal.
Bailey
Trade paperback
180 pp 8.5" x 5.5"
ISBN13: 9781550652147

CDN $18.95
US & International
US $16.95