Families are Formed Through Copulation

I admit it was the title and the book’s cover design that drew me to Families are Formed Through Copulation. The couple on the cover depicts a water coloured figure and green skeletal man hand in hand, in love perhaps? How lovely. But when I began to read my mood started to change. A close friend kills herself after a terrifying night hitchhiking. Next, a short parable about a sadistic family that uses incest and rape against each other while keeping up appearances to the outside world. It’s too dark. I leave the book alone for a while, and when I return it shifts into something less perverse. The works in Families are Formed Through Copulation were adapted from a stage production in Montreal. Inside are thoughts on politics, paranoia, cynicism and family. The book is split into sections, some parts are dialogue, random thoughts or stories. The first section focuses on growing up, being bitter, family therapy and reconciliation. One part is aptly titled “Parents are Punching Bags, Children are Tyrants”. The second and third parts deal with paranoia, complacency and despair in a post-9/11 world. In these sections, we are exposed to a more personal side of Jacob Wren. It reads like pages ripped out of his journal. “Last night I saw a film. The film was quite good, beautifully made. It was about a young woman whose boyfriend commits suicide. The young woman experiences a great deal of angst and I suspect, as viewers, we were meant to sympathize with her cinematic emotional inner turmoil. But I couldn’t help but think: What is one woman’s emotional suffering when compared to the complete and ongoing suffering of the entire Iraqi people.” Families Are Formed Through Copulation is a challenging read that lets you lose yourself in pessimistic thoughts. (Andrea Nene)

Fiction, 128 pgs, by Jacob Wren, $22.00, Pedlar Press, 191 Madison Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5R 2S6

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