City of Forgetting

2nd edition by Moveable Inc., 2021 - 169 pages

Ché Guevara, Rudolph Valentino, Lady Macbeth, Clytæmnestra, Le Corbusier, de Maisonneuve — once these and other heroes of Western mythology, drawn from Shakespeare to Hollywood, strode proudly through the center of the city's dreams, their eyes fixed on the future, our eyes fixed on them. Now, in this 21st century, we find them wandering, aging, exhausted, variously psychotic and homeless in the streets of a powerfully evoked present-day Montréal. The old ideals are dying. The City is waging war on poverty, the homeless are disappearing. There are bodies in the river. Nature rebels: floods, earthquakes, the flash of comets in the sky. Who survives in this brilliant and moving tale.

Translated into French as Montréal barbare by Claire Dé (Les Intouchables, 2000)

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Reviews

"Characters from Shakespeare, Hollywood films and Greek mythology, along with other literary and cultural figures, wander homeless and penniless in a wonderfully evoked present-day Montreal in this brilliant, moving novel....a formidable and esoteric discourse on power, decadence and remembering."


---The Globe and Mail

"Majzels, a Montreal-born writer and translator, experiments with narrative form and philosophical speculation in his second novel, as he did in his well-received first effort, Hellman’s ScrapbookCity of Forgetting summons iconic outsiders, antiheroes, and rebels from history and literature, recasting them as homeless Montrealers. Unrecognized and uncherished, they live in makeshift camps on the muddy slopes of Mount Royal and along the waterfront, where they relive their pasts, and evade capture by unseen enemies. They wait, half in dread, for the future that their comrade Clytaemnestra defines as 'where hope collides with death'".


---Quill & Quire

Selected by Montreal's The Gazette newspaper as one of the top ten books of the century on Montreal.

“Robert Majzels est le maître du collage érudit et de l’exercise postmoderne… Son texte envoûtant, riche d’images puissantes, est important parce qu’il annonce une nouvelle ère d’écrire Montréal.”


---Sophie Gironnay, L’Actualité, le 1er mars 1998

“A complex interweaving of the soul of rebellion with desire, and the contradictions of the city itself, founded in religious fervor, yet alienating and brutal in its modern incarnation.”


---Montreal Review of Books

“A rich, remarkable novel that will stand up to several readings, rewarding the careful reader with each visit.”


---Prairie Fire