Michel Tremblay’s Notebook trilogy, published between 2006 and 2009 by Talonbooks, is ripe for a sesquicentennial reissue. “We were thinking which of our backlist titles we should convert to ebooks,” says Chloë Filson, Talonbooks’s production coordinator. Tremblay’s books “definitely were great novels, but the covers were really quite uninspiring. We decided if we’re going to do them as ebooks, we should really redesign the covers.”
The trilogy follows the formative years of a young waitress who comes into her own after getting involved in the Montreal theatre community. She becomes ensconced in the local nightlife as the house manager of a drag club, and, by the end, experiences her first love affair. The three titles – The Black Notebook, The Red Notebook, and The Blue Notebook – take place just before, during, and after Expo 67. Filson began researching late-60s Montreal, with an eye to Expo 67 imagery, as well as vintage fashion ads: “Clothing and costumes are things Tremblay has explored in a lot of his work – how does a woman or a man present themselves?”
Filson’s jumping-off point was a series of Expo promotion posters, which ended up informing the general look of her redesigned covers. The final products each include a fashion illustration by Filson, a period Montreal image (including an Expo map), and a partial notebook page. Filson says Talonbooks plans to reissue the series in ebook format in the spring, with a print edition to follow. “It’s a great year to read these books,” she says.