From celebrated Quebecois author Bertrand Laverdure comes Universal Bureau of Copyrights, a bold, strange and addictive story that envisions a world where free will doesn’t exist, and an enigmatic global corporation buys and sells the copyrights for all things on Earth, including real and fictional characters. Through this novel, which is part poetic narrative, part sci-fi-dystopian fantasy, readers become acquainted with the main character, a man who deconstructs himself as he navigates the mystifying passages of the story. Having no control over his environment, time continuum, or body, he is a puppet on strings, an icon in a video game and, as he eventually discovers within the bowels of the Universal Bureau of Copyrights, the object of countless copyrights. With touches of Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, Universal Bureau of Copyrights packs a multitude of modern cultural references into an audacious exploration of identity and one’s place in the world.
"Laverdure’s clever commentary on identity, ownership, and control keeps us guessing right up to the end."
- The Times Literary Supplement
Laverdure’s Swiftian eye for the savage ironies revealed in the amusement addictions of the Hive Mind provokes a new kind of laughter in the dark.
-Ottawa Review of Books
The elegant English translation of Bertrand Laverdure’s novel, Universal Bureau of Copyrights, pivots on the contradictory premise that when imagination becomes reality and wild thoughts materialize, free will is lost rather than celebrated.
Much like the viewer of the experimental film, I’m far from certain what it all means…. But the best books aren’t always the easiest ones.
— Ambos Journal of Quebec Literature in Translation