The mailman brought me something very exciting last week: a new book with Onça Design. But not just any book: this is Bill Gaston’s new collection of short stories, A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage, which will be published by Douglas & McIntyre next month.
I’m incredibly happy to have my credit line in this book for two reasons: First, because it is not often that I get to work with fiction. But second, and more importantly, because it was the first time I got to work with an author whose work I was already a fan of before starting the project. I was first introduced to Gaston’s short fiction when a creative writing professor gave me a copy of Mount Appetite. His novel The World, which won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2013, was one of my favourite books that year. Working with an author you admire brings a special feeling—and Gaston was a pleasure to work with, just made it all better.
The ten stories in A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage range in tone but the characters have a pattern: they are full of contradictions. The vegan working at a fish farm. The racist musician who idolizes a black jazz legend. The mariner who gets his boat fixed while planning to sink it. They are complex, both unbelievable and recognizable, a part of all of us.
I’m very happy with how this turned out. The headings are in the beautiful and clean Proxima Nova Light. The body text is in a Kepler Std, a typeface I had not used before but that I liked so much I already used it in another project. The cover was designed by Anna Comfort O’Keeffe.
A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage: Stories, by Bill Gaston. Douglas & McIntyre, 2017. 5.5 × 8.5 inches, 224 pages, $22.95.