Current U of T student Gabriel Verveniotis has recently written The Sanguinaires: Or What I Hate Most About Everything. This book was published this past October 30. At the moment, Verveniotis is studying English and has taken courses in creative writing, literature, and poetry. Also a bartender by trade, Verveniotis revealed that his profession and academic pursuits has informed the way he has written The Sanguinaires.
“The Sanguinaires reeks of the bars and booze and was written as a sort of sonnet that encapsulates the crude and comical things I experienced and witnessed,” he said, further referring to bartending as an esteemed profession. He noted that the experiences he’s had as a bartender has influenced his “entire impression and perception of humanity.” A challenging aspect of writing the book was managing his life as a bartender and as a student simultaneously.
“I struggled to complete the work, given that I was attending school on and off as well as working till four [in the morning] at bars,” he said.
When discussing if his academic studies have somehow shaped the way he has written The Sanguinaires, he admitted to learning from other authors.
Verveniotis said, “I learned what other authors had successfully done, which enabled me to size them up and try to do the same if not a better job.”
He cited authors he’s read while in school such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Sam Sheppard, and Charles Bukowski, as being influencers of his own work. While writing the book, Verveniotis had undergone a “long bout of gloom” and had sought advice from the university. The Sanguinaires, to Verveniotis, is reflective of his “disdain for the notion that our problems are psychological rather than metaphysical.”
Besides the wide-ranging characters of psychopaths, alcoholics, junkies, and mystics, Verniotis stated that he intended the book to be political.
“What I wanted to communicate was a libertarian message. I wanted to assert the importance of the individual rather than the government and identity-based ideologies that preach collectivist thinking,” he explained, “The government featured in The Sanguinaires is threatened by a group of disaffected, dangerous, and disenfranchised junkies that are looking for God in all the wrong places and they just want to be left alone to fail.”
Verveniotis said that he identified most with two characters in the book, Cooter and Laertes. These two characters, for him, are like “two sides of an argument” that Verveniotis himself wonders when he thinks about mortality. On the topic of mortality, Verveniotis admitted that there was no easy answer.
“Cooter is the forceful one who wants to control his fate and Laertes believes that the gamble of life’s meaning is nothing but a rouse, and that it’s better to laugh at others who try and figure it out,” he said.
Verveniotis hopes that readers will understand that the satirical and cynical elements of the text reflect the way we as a society deal with death. He explained that we look at mortality as a “farce to be ignored.”
In reality, Verveniotis said, “Sometimes the most damaged and depressed of minds are the only ones that can see the writing on the wall, but the irony is that it doesn’t matter, because knowing what fate entails rarely makes a difference.”