Polyamorous Love Song, a novel of intertwined narratives concerning the relationship between artists and the world. Shot through with unexpected moments of sex and violence, readers will become acquainted with a world that is at once the same and opposite from the one in which they live. With a diverse palette of vivid characters - from people who wear furry mascot costumes at all times, to a group of 'New Filmmakers' that devises increasingly unexpected sexual scenarios with complete strangers, to a secret society that concocts a virus that only infects those on the political right - Wren's avant-garde Polyamorous Love Song (finalist for the 2013 Fence Modern Prize in Prose) will appeal to readers with an interest in the visual arts, theatre, and performance of all types.
Polyamorous Love Song sets up every human being as an artist - oversexed, furry and holding a gun - to play through wicked palindromes of sex performance and political protest. This book notably asks: Are we all pretending? Wren mines the ethical implications of both hidden literature and mass entertainment. Reading it, I wondered why I wasn't more afraid.
- Tamara Faith Berger
Everything Jacob Wren touches interests me, excites me - he's both sophisticated and innocent in attitude - he's a kind of wise old man and open-hearted lover. With his vivacious ideas, word play, and the serious and inane served up on a plate - Wren lifts my spirits, intellectual and other, because to know he's writing so beautifully in this mad, sad world is a wonderful thing.
- Lynne Tilman
Who hasn’t, at one time or another, considered killing a billionaire?
Rich and Poor is a novel of a man who washes dishes for a living and decides to kill a billionaire as a political act. It is literature as political theory and theory as pure literary pleasure—a spiralling, fast-paced parable of joyous, overly self-aware, mischievous class warfare.
As his plan proceeds and becomes more feasible, the story cuts back and forth between his and the billionaire’s perspectives, gradually revealing how easily the poisons of ambition, wealth and revolutionary violence can become entangled. A fable of not knowing how to change the world and perhaps learning how to do so in the process.
Praise for Rich and Poor:
"For far too long, literature has deemed it inconvenient to speak about the rich and the poor. Jacob Wren's intriguing novel calls this notion into question. Details, short impressions, the very temperature of fleeting events—these are what make this book great, precisely because it deliberately eschews all bombast. The narrative, in the way it projects the past as a perpetual present, produces in the reader the illusion of being inside a manual of minutiae, being written alongside the act of reading itself. Wren’s ability to speak about the abstruse and unusual, hidden in all that is profane in our social comings and goings, forms the basis of the novel’s magnificent and defining concept, one that does not seek to be a testimony, but rather, to be rapturous metaphor." —Sergio Chejfec
Additional Praise for Jacob Wren:
"Everything Jacob Wren touches interests me, excites me. He's both sophisticated and innocent in attitude. He's a kind of wise, old man and open-hearted lover. With his vivacious ideas, wordplay, and the serious and inane served up on the same plate—Wren lifts my spirits, intellectual and other, because to know he's writing so beautifully in this mad, sad world is a wonderful thing." —Lynne Tillman
Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART is a compelling hybrid of history, memoir, and performance theory. It tells the story of the interdisciplinary performance group PME-ART and their ongoing endeavour to make a new kind of highly collaborative theatre dedicated to the fragile but essential act of "being yourself in a performance situation."
Written, among other things, to celebrate PME-ART's twentieth anniversary, the book begins when Jacob Wren meets Sylvie Lachance and Richard Ducharme, moves from Toronto to Montreal to make just one project, but instead ends up spending the next twenty years creating an eccentric, often bilingual, art. It is a book about being unable to learn French yet nonetheless remaining Co-Artistic Director of a French-speaking performance group, about the Spinal Tap-like adventures of being continuously on tour, about the rewards and difficulties of intensive collaborations, about making performances that break the mold and confronting the repercussions of doing so. A book that aims to change the rules for how interdisciplinary performance can be written about today.
When Jacob finished a first draft of the book he sent it to many of those who had co-created or worked on PME-ART projects asking for their comments. Therefore, the book also features contributions from: Caroline Dubois, Richard Ducharme, Claudia Fancello, Marie Claire Forté, Adam Kinner, Sylvie Lachance, Nadia Ross, Yves Sheriff, Kathrin Tiedemann and Ashlea Watkin.
Praise for Authenticity Is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART:
"In Authenticity is a Feeling, Jacob Wren investigates the possibility of "being oneself in a performance situation"—including the performance of this beautiful, quiet, vulnerable book. In it, he recounts his utopian efforts at non-hierarchical collaboration over the last twenty years—not only with the members of his oddball, charming performance collective, PME-ART, but also with his spectators and readers. As he once told an audience: "we're only going to be in the same room together for the next hour and a half and then we’ll probably never see each other again. But so many things seem impossible nowadays. And just because something's impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try." Curious reader, open the book and try spending some time with him. It may even make some things seem possible." —Barbara Browning, author of The Gift
Praise for PME-ART:
"Part dance, part social critique, part heady fucking around. PME-ART interrogates the idea of the performance itself. But it never fails to be that performance, and a damn good one. God bless Canada." —Brian Parks, The Village Voice