Peter Norman: 10 great reads for dictionary fanatics

National Post | Arts

Peter Norman is the author of the novel Emberton, which was recently published by Douglas & McIntyre. He is also the author of two collections of poetry, At the Gates of the Theme Park and Water Damage. Norman, who lives in Montreal, will be guest editing The Afterword all this week.

Ostensibly, Emberton is about a dictionary. It takes place in an office tower devoted to the assembly, publication, and marketing of the Emberton Dictionary; almost all of its characters are involved, one way or another, in lexicography. So you’d think my novel would be of interest to readers who are curious about dictionaries and the people who compile them.

But there’s a problem: Emberton is a Gothic fantasy that tells you very little about real-life dictionaries. In the dim, decaying chambers of Emberton Tower, maladjusted people perform bizarre tasks well outside the job requirements of actual lexicographers…

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