About the Book
Discover the difference between living a life and simply enduring on in this cross-campus, cross-country comedy of manners, queerness, poetry and HIV.
Stephen is middle-aged. He’s gay. He’s content, except when he isn’t. Stephen is a teacher. He’s a poet. He has a new teaching job in Kamloops, BC. Stephen has HIV.
DR SAD is the story of one man’s journey across Canada and through his diagnosis. It is the story of the distance between queer urban spaces and a small campus in a small city in small-town BC. It is the story of discovering the self within the world, and the world within the self, of discovering the difference between living a life and simply enduring one. This is a tragicomic cross-campus, cross-country romp that believes in the power of romance.
Weaving together narratives of past and present, of Toronto’s Gay Village and the streets of Kamloops, BC this lively and dynamic semi-autobiographical novel dives deeply into gender and queerness, class and privilege, and the realities of aging. It is a dynamic and engaging hybrid, stylistically daring while remaining intimate and human.
Leaping through time and mixing the playfully serious with the seriously playful, DR SAD blends poetry with prose and finds the humour in despair in one complete, glittering tragedy of triumph
David Bateman is a freelance arts journalist, painter, and performance poet. He has published numerous books of poetry and has taught literature and creative writing at post-secondary institutions across Canada. He lives in Toronto, Ontario
Praise for DR SAD:
dr sad or dr das as he was sumtimes known was built with th unusual gift 2 x periens multi dimensyunal realiteez sew that his manee journeez in2 evree thing wer palimsesting n brethless in theyr xposur uv his resolut opn mindidness wch carreed him thru sew manee trajektoreez his sadness n his joy bcame onlee his as ths brillyant n akrobatik writing reveels n th suspens uv ths wundrful n engayging narrativ is is ths th storee uv a sereez uv illusyuns 2 peel away each layr all th wher n whn n why 4 reed n find out in ths amayzing n awsum book
—bill bissett, poet
Stephen’s journey across country, emotions, and life’s vagaries after a sudden diagnosis is equal parts melancholy and poetry, playful wit, lyricism, and rage. This novel is a complex cocktail that lingers sweet, bitter. Take a sip. Then another. Slip a copy into your overnight bag and hit the road.
—Hiromi Goto, writer, editor and author of Half World
Only David Bateman, one of our finest poets, could bring academe to such sensual life. DR SAD is the story of a generational shift, one that turned learning into careerism and writing into telegraphing, and, most important, all that’s been lost in this turn. DR SAD makes academe sexy again. That in itself is an Everest-like feat, but to do it with style and grace? Only David Bateman.
—RM Vaughan, writer and artist
There have been novels about poets, and novels about poet/academics but there’s never been a novel like DR SAD. It is so funny, so inadvertently sexy, and yet so true to our own private, nutty obsessions and unprove-able beliefs that it defies categorization. I loved it.
—Felice Picano, teacher, activist, and author
DR SAD is a journey between somewhere and nowhere, a conversation between nostalgia and sentimentality, a nefarious trip down memory lane where all the side streets are forgotten. This is an elegant anti-memoir, birthing the real just as it adopts the fantastic, caustic humour that drips between frown lines and erupts like a jack in the box, when the music stops and when least expected. DR SAD haunts us, cocoon of complexity, magical haiku.
—Ashok Mathur, OCAD University
In his spellbinding debut novel David Bateman brings all the salacious tenderness and snakebite wit—his poetic signature—to bear on a new form that flirts as much with autobiography as with the limits of anonymity. Stephen, the protagonist, is a queer Daedalus-Telemachus, who creates “wings” from disparate materials such as the pleasures of gay sex, figured as “corporeal cacophony.” Always on the lookout for signs of a lost father, Stephen rejoices in the precarious beauties, tangled intimacies, and baroque melancholia of contemporary queer urban life. This book confirms Bateman as a masterful queer literary voice.