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category: Fiction
published: Feb 2021
publisher: New Star Books

The Renter

by Michael Tregebov

tagged: jewish, literary, coming of age

"Absolutely brilliant!" — Guy Maddin
The sentimental and financial education of a young Jewish Winnipegger in and around 1968.

1968. Winnipeg Beach. Summer. Poor Jewish boy meets rich Jewish girl. The sun is high, libidos soar, even the high is high. And as the poor boy tries to marry up, the Jacob-Rachel myth gives way to an Icarian leap.

The still of a time and a social milieu so close to our own that it itches, Michael Tregebov's The Renter, the fourth entry in his comédie humaine, is a sex-fuelled tour d'échec. As Bret Yeatman envisions a way out of his pot-dealing, cottage-renting, romantically precarious life through the woman of his dreams — the political, Plato-wielding, beautiful, upper class Sandra Sugarman — will his gamble need more than a bluff?

About the Author

Michael Tregebov was born in 1954 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with a BA in English. His first book of poems, Changehouse, was published by Turnstone Press in Winnipeg in 1976. That same year he began an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.

He received his MFA in Creative Writing in spring 1978, immediately after which he moved to Barcelona, where he learned Spanish and, accidentally, Catalan. He returned to Vancouver in 1979 and begin a Masters in English at Simon Fraser University. After dropping out of SFU he returned to Barcelona in the fall of 1981, where he has made his home ever since.

In addition to teaching English and Spanish translation and 19th and 20th century American literature at the American Institute of Barcelona (Institut d’Estudis Nordamericans) from 1984-88; and at the neo-liberal Jesuit-run ESADE from 1989 until his retirement in 2005. During that time and until the present he has translated and dubbed Spanish travel programs and industrial American TV shows, including a hundred episodes of Star Trek (both generations) and The Equalizer into Catalan and Spanish, a million-plus words in corporate, tax and labour law and another million in chartered accountancy for PriceWaterhouseCoopers Spain, the capitalist police, as well as a book of essays (Escribir y ser) by Nadine Gordimer, and translations in areas stretching from art history to perfume.

In 2009, his novel The Briss was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (first novel category) and optioned for film. The Briss was followed by The Shiva in 2012. In 2015 Penguin Random House Lumen published his translation of, and prologue to, William Carlos Williams’s Kora in Hell in their best-selling William Carlos Williams Poesía reunida, chosen by El País as one of the best books released in Spain and Latin America in 2015. Shot Rock is his third novel.

Michael Tregebov lives with Virginia, his wife of 39 years, in El Masnou, a Catalan coastal town just north of Barcelona.

Contributor Notes

Born in Winnipeg in 1954, Michael Tregebov obtained his BA in English from the University of Manitoba and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. His book of poems, Changehouse, was published in 1976 by Turnstone Press. He later studied in the Master's Program at Simon Fraser University, before moving to Spain in 1982.

From 1983 to 1989, he taught American Literature and Translation at the American Institute in Barcelona, and from 1989 to 2005, English at Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas, also in Barcelona.

Tregebov's first novel, The Briss (2008), was a finalist for the Commonwealth First Novel Prize (Canada-Caribbean Region). The Shiva was published in the summer of 2012. His most recent novel is Shot Rock (2019) and The Renter (2021).

He lives with his family in Barcelona working for several organizations as a translator in Spanish, Catalan, French, and English. His translation into Spanish of William Carlos Williams's Kora in Hell was published in the 2017 volume William Carlos Williams: Poesía Reunida (Penguin Random House-Lumen).

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