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The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even

A Novel

List Price: $15.95

June 9, 2015 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 272 Pages | ISBN 9781619025493

Winner of the 2014 Exporting Alberta Award

Longlisted for the 2015 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour

Longlisted for the 2015 Alberta Readers' Choice Award

This is a wonderful comic novel, about philosophy, the nature of art, the beauty of the ordinary, and about quirky, complete, night & day victims of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Two charming, over-anxious, germ-phobic friends, Isaac and Greg take a road trip from Boston to Philadelphia. They are both obsessed with Marcel Duchamp, his art and his ideas, and thus the destination has to be the largest collection of Duchamp in the world, The Philadelphia Art Museum, the actual place “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even” was to be delivered when it was cracked and broken in shipment. The piece is sometimes known as The Large Glass, and today it sits in the middle of a large gallery proudly displayed in its broken state which Duchamp repaired and then certified had been his intention all along.

The two men are driven in a rented disinfected Winnebago by Kelly, a beautiful art scholar who smells like a mixture of lemons and fresh sawdust. They intend to pick up an ancient chocolate grinder, an exact working sculptural copy of one used in a Duchamp painting. Isaac intends to grind his own pure chocolate, which will prevent the build-up or arterial plaque, because his mother died of a stroke. Every action has its own suitable reaction, and then some. Isaac hopes eventually to overcome his devotion to his many obsessions and to re-enter the world, evidently his version of the real world. He is not an unreliable narrator, he is a hyper-reliable narrator, consumed by his own attention and thrilled with the connections he sees everywhere all at once. Of course when he finally gets to the museum he must dress-up as a woman to visit the collection.

CHRIS F. WESTBURY is a cognitive neuropsychologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. His work focuses on understanding the functional structure and neurological underpinnings of language processing. This is his first novel.

Praise

“Two outpatients of a psychiatric ward decide to face their fears and take a Marcel Duchamp-inspired road trip to retrieve a chocolate grinder from Philadelphia. (Like you do.) Clever, funny, and fun, and filled with great discussions about art, this is sure to be a hit with fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” —BookRiot

Westbury’s Bride Stripped Bare itself contains many layers… When you get right down to it, it’s a book about the various filters, from art to religion to language itself, that we use to help mediate the world around us.” —Edmonton Journal

“Part treatise on art appreciation, part humorous on-the-road tale, neuropsychologist Westbury’s debut novel offers a compelling story about the role art can play to disrupt, delay, and contribute to human engagement with the real world.” —Booklist

“A cute romantic comedy…it will inspire many readers to rethink their conceptions of mental disorders. It’s a sweet story, and it builds inevitably to a happy ending.” —Kirkus

“It’s not every enticingly nutty novel that centers on a modernist masterpiece, in this case Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, painted on glass and cracked in delivery. But neurotic buddies Isaac and Greg, who met in “group” (that is, group therapy sessions), are so obsessed with Duchamp’s work that they travel to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see it. Verdict: Bright aesthetic discussion amid mishap; not just for the college-nostalgic but for anyone who enjoys a rush of ideas while being entertained.” —Library Journal

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