La Chambre verte

La Chambre verte

“In the name of the Dollar, and of the Cent, and of the Holy Economy.” Amen. Martine Desjardin’s La Chambre verte is a delightfully dark and unsettling account of a jealously guarded fortune.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Victoria on the Horizon

Victoria on the Horizon

A beautiful short story by Catherine Leroux from the collection Madame Victoria.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Anna Matthews
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Héliotrope Noir

Héliotrope Noir

David Warriner reviews two of the first three titles to appear in the Héliotrope Noir imprint, Du sang sur ses lèvres and Excellence Poulet.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by David Warriner
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Le Discours sur la tombe de l’idiot

Le Discours sur la tombe de l’idiot

“His idiot eyes saw nothing. He was looking at him, the mayor seated on the bench, but without really seeing him. His mouth remained half-open, sluggish, as if the lower lip were too heavy. As if someone had emptied out his brain through the nostrils, with a straw.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Jacob Siefring
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Life in the Court of Matane

Life in the Court of Matane

“It was there, just at the bottom of the eighth beer, that we would start to lose him. He would begin to lift up off the ground, rising ever higher, ever further, until we needed a telescope to watch him ascend into the sky.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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Eric Dupont, a Profile

Eric Dupont, a Profile

“Life is made up of conflict, pleasure, harmony, and dissonance. The same elements are found in music, art, and the novels of Eric Dupont.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Profile by Mélanie Vincelette
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Les maisons

Les maisons

Reading this novel is much like listening to good blues. Tessa’s malaise is real and rooted in the everyday; the themes are serious―loss, infidelity, self-esteem, family, nonconformity. But the aesthetics of the work make for a lightness, and the overall effect is uplifting.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Elaine Kennedy
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Pugnacious and Flamboyant

Pugnacious and Flamboyant

In Faire l’amour, Anne-Marie Olivier talks frankly and funnily about sex, with each of the play’s scenes based on a true story.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Marie-Claude Plourde
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Interview with Pierre-Luc Landry

Interview with Pierre-Luc Landry

An interview with author, professor, and publisher Pierre-Luc Landry.

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis as we continue to talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Pierre-Luc Landry
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Paris in the Rain, from Arvida

Paris in the Rain, from Arvida

A short story from Arvida, finalist for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Donald Winkler
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Arvida and the Best Translated Book Award

Arvida and the Best Translated Book Award

The winner of the 2016 Best Translated Book Award is set to be announced on May 4, and Quebec’s very own Arvida is very much in the running. Peter McCambridge sat down with P.T. Smith, one of the fiction jury’s nine members, to discuss Arvida’s chances.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with P.T. Smith
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The Muscles of Mermaids

The Muscles of Mermaids

“They say that when you look out to sea, you feel just as tiny as you do beneath the dark sky of night. That you disappear into the vastness of it all. That’s really all we’re hoping for today. To vanish into the dense, liquid air of a white shoreline. Marie is dead.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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Pour réussir un poulet

Pour réussir un poulet

Fabien Cloutier won a first Governor General’s Literary Award in 2015 with Pour réussir un poulet, a raw and cruel portrait of the exploitation of human misery.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Marie-Claude Plourde
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Interview with Matthew Murphy

Interview with Matthew Murphy

An interview with Montreal-based writer Matthew Murphy, author of A Beckoning War.

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis as we continue to talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Matthew Murphy & audio excerpt
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Eric Dupont, a Self-Portrait

Eric Dupont, a Self-Portrait

“Books have always accompanied me. Even in an education system that had declared war on literature, I managed, with the help of a few high-school librarians, to satisfy my appetite for reading. Bless them.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Self-portrait by Eric Dupont
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Yukonstyle

Yukonstyle

The author thanks translator Nadine Desrochers—“my ally, my friend, who knows better than anyone how to make my words travel from one language to another”—and little wonder. Desrochers’ work is enviable and masterful as she translates “the texture of images that often, still, leave me breathless with awe.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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La femme qui fuit

La femme qui fuit

This exquisite novel is a tribute to beauty, to creation, to life itself. Vulnerable and magnificent and heartfelt, all at once. *Winner of the 2016 Prix des libraires award from the booksellers of Quebec*

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Betsi Larousse

Betsi Larousse

Filled with dramatic flair and brilliantly told, Betsi Larousse is a story drawn in shades of madness and humour.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Jean-Paul Murray
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The Goddess of Fireflies

The Goddess of Fireflies

The pages fly by as we watch Catherine’s fate unfold in simple scenes that manage to convey years of teenage awkwardness and dreams in just a few lines.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Sneak Peek: The Goddess of Fireflies

Sneak Peek: The Goddess of Fireflies

An excerpt from The Goddess of Fireflies before it is published later this month.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Neil Smith
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Seven Lakes Further North

Seven Lakes Further North

A postcolonial novel of consensus, Seven Lakes Further North reconciles clashing polarities, while painting the Canadian landscape in dreamlike detail.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Jean-Paul Murray
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Le chasseur inconnu

Le chasseur inconnu

Le chasseur inconnu is literally a timeless tale, with temporal references as few and far between as outsiders in the village.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by David Warriner
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A Beckoning War

A Beckoning War

“In the roomy cinderblock barn now serving as his headquarters, he ticks down the minutes till the attack, cigarette by cigarette, the burning fuse of time. Twenty minutes. Ten minutes. Soldiers come and go.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Read the excerpt
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C’est pas moi, je le jure!

C’est pas moi, je le jure!

“I’d already felt trouble brewing in my heart, rebels lurking in the tall grass, guilt and other wild beasts waiting to leap from their lair and rip apart what was left of my innocence.” Neil Smith translates the first chapter of C’est pas moi, je le jure!

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Neil Smith
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Nord Alice

Nord Alice

“Alice managed to awaken the violence in me. Not in the practical sense of the word. But in the sense of real violence. The kind that presides over birth. Human. The kind that lies dormant.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Kathryn Gabinet-Kroo
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Le chasseur inconnu

Le chasseur inconnu

“My children, let us all go home. There is no point in us slandering any further. Let’s see how things look in the morning.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by David Warriner
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Petit chien pas de pattes

Petit chien pas de pattes

“You know what you should do, Pancho? I’ll tell you my story and you turn it into a book. It’ll be an international best seller!”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review and translation by Karin Montin
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A Beckoning War

A Beckoning War

Machine guns snarl to life as Jim leads his men, his “angels in khaki,” into “the livid, roaring inferno of combat” in northern Italy during the second world war. Murphy’s original, inventive prose lives long in the memory.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Nord Alice

Nord Alice

In Nord Alice, the narrator is obsessed with Alice, a doctor like himself and the lover whose anguish and anxiety he can never manage to calm.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Kathryn Gabinet-Kroo
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Les corps extraterrestres

Les corps extraterrestres

It has the feel of a road trip, or at least of a journey of discovery, of self-exploration, of star-gazing and navel-gazing. This novel belongs firmly in the camp of “international” literature to come out of Quebec.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Life in the Court of Matane

Life in the Court of Matane

Throughout, Dupont is aware of the transformational power of literature and his own brand of writing is more powerful than most. We do not leave this world of his making unscathed.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Arvida

Arvida

These are stories of stories: what they do, what life becomes through them, and why they should be passed on.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by P.T. Smith
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Le vol de la coupe Stanley

Le vol de la coupe Stanley

Michel Laprise makes history come alive, lifting statistics and players from the 1961-1962 National Hockey League season off the page and bringing them to life, blending fact and fiction to describe the theft of Lord Stanley’s Cup.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review and translation by Peter McCambridge
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Zazie

Zazie

From divorce and bullying to after-school jobs and first crushes, Zazie recounts her misadventures with wit and charm. This excerpt, the “meet cute” between Zazie and the Boy, will have you both cringing and chuckling along with its narrator.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Arielle Aaronson
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Paths of Desire

Paths of Desire

Paths of Desire is an intriguing title for a novel. “You see them in parks sometimes. They’re the rough trails made by people who leave the marked footpaths and cut across a grassy area or field. Some say these paths are the result of bad urban planning, but I wonder if it isn’t simply an expression of non-conformity, a desire for freedom.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by David Warriner
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The Lake

The Lake

This is writing of the highest order, published in France by Gallimard no less and now in English translation for House of Anansi’s Arachnide imprint. It was even up for this year’s Governor General’s Award for translation, ultimately edged out by Twenty-One Cardinals.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Six degrés de liberté

Six degrés de liberté

Quirky details and curiosities abound in this Governor General’s Award-winning novel on the most unpromising of subjects: the world of shipping containers. Packed full of delicious facts and asides, it rewards close reading and, most importantly, entertains from start to finish.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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The Orange Grove

The Orange Grove

Quebec literature can often be labelled inward-looking. But Larry Tremblay’s The Orange Grove, set in an unnamed country torn apart by violence, is a piece of truly international literature.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Arielle Aaronson
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La fée des balcons

La fée des balcons

La fée des balcons is a pre-coming-of-age story buoyed by its indomitable narrator and beautiful, tender writing.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Arielle Aaronson
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Nous étions le sel de la mer

Nous étions le sel de la mer

Cyrille said that all truth is ever-flowing and elusive. Those who go to sea know that anything atop the waves is forever breaking up and reforming. Differently. He said that the wind, the current, and the ocean swell are insatiable; that you could never be too careful, even on a glassy sea.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by David Warriner
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Cycling to Asylum

Cycling to Asylum

“What did he say?
“He said something about how I should leave now unless I planned to stay forever.”
“So you stayed.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Read the excerpt
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Interview with Larry Tremblay

Interview with Larry Tremblay

Biblioasis recently released The Orange Grove by Larry Tremblay in a translation by Sheila Fischman. Here is publisher Dan Wells’ conversation with the author.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Conversation between Dan Wells and Larry Tremblay
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For Anne

For Anne

Some things in life are just hard to explain to your kids, you know? But you still have to try; it’s usually worth it.
Take my daughter Anne, for instance, who was asking why two of her playmates always speak English with each other, even though they have French names and their parents speak French. That’s weird. How come?
Well it just so happens that I kind of know their family.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Madeleine Stratford
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Captive

Captive

Away from alcohol, work, friends, family, television, and everything else that tends to stand between us and life, Julian and Emma are subjected to a series of increasingly cruel and unusual tests. Why them? What is this? Some kind of twisted reality TV show?

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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L’année la plus longue

L’année la plus longue

L’année la plus longue—Daniel Grenier’s first novel following an initial collection of short stories, also published by Le Quartanier—is impressive both in scope and ambition. It is the “story of a man who couldn’t grow old,” a saga of epic proportions.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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La Fiancée américaine

La Fiancée américaine

La Fiancée américaine (The American fiancée) is an epic, a playful, quirky family saga that takes in all of the 20th century, from parochial Rivière-du-Loup to Dachau, post-GDR Berlin, New York City, Rome, and Japan. It has been favourably compared to Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, and Dupont himself to John Irving and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. High praise indeed. Read on to find out why.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Interview with Pasha Malla

Interview with Pasha Malla

An interview with Toronto-based author Pasha Malla.

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis as we continue to talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Pasha Malla
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Atavisms

Atavisms

The thirteen stories move across time, some set contemporarily, others in the past or the future. The movement is not linear; with the start of each, the moment in history needs to be located anew. However, the place is ever the same. These are stories of Quebec, both in their location and their hearts.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by P.T. Smith
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Rebel Priest in the Time of Tyrants

Rebel Priest in the Time of Tyrants

Readers knowing little about the Catholic Church might dismisss Rebel Priest in the Time of Tyrants as too much like inside baseball. That would be a mistake.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Repentir(s)

Repentir(s)

Outside a crowd was already gathering behind the orange tape the cops had set up to the background of a dozen or so patrol cars, lights flashing. A whole other kind of beauty, he thought as he watched the police.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by David Warriner
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Interview with Jennifer Dummer

Interview with Jennifer Dummer

An interview with Jennifer Dummer of the quélesen blog. If you’re interested in reading in German about contemporary Quebec literature, quélesen is the blog for you.

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis as we continue to talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Jennifer Dummer
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Repentir(s)

Repentir(s)

Ste-Marie has a strong background in fine arts, and he weaves his experience masterfully into the fabric of this novel. He opens a door for the reader to the inner sanctum of the art world—dusty studios, antique tubes of oil paint, forgers, fraudsters, and all. Through Pagliaro, he offers a window into a more discerning kind of detective.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by David Warriner
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Le cadavre de Kowalski

Le cadavre de Kowalski

“You are well and truly dead,” she confirms. “But keep going. Tell me what happened underground, Mr. Kowalksi.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review and translation by Peter McCambridge
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Sports et divertissements

Sports et divertissements

“You’re unhappy,” she says.
“I dunno.”
“You’re unhappy then.”
“No,” I sigh. “I feel a little empty, that’s all.”
“But you are empty. A Class A superficial bitch who destroys everything in her path.”
“True.”
“Feel any better?”
“No.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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I Hate Hockey

I Hate Hockey

“I hate hockey!” is the first and last sentence in this novel that offers a new take on Canada’s love-hate relationship with hockey. Narrator Antoine Vachon blames the game for killing his marriage with his beautiful ex-wife (well, that and the power outage that brought her home unexpectedly to find him in bed with her intern). But hockey is a pretext for unlikely adventure in this sardonic roman noir that at times flirts with the outrageous.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Read the excerpt
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L’angoisse du poisson rouge

L’angoisse du poisson rouge

One of fiction’s most valuable roles must be to get the reader to stop and consider something they had previously been aware of without ever taking the time to probe and investigate more thoroughly. L’angoisse du poisson rouge will leave more than a few anxious to read up on Italy’s role in the second world war.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Ravenscrag

Ravenscrag

It’s complicated. Written by Alain Farah, Pourquoi Bologne, here translated by Lazer Lederhendler as Ravenscrag and published by House of Anansi’s Arachnide imprint, involves a writer named Alain Farah who is simultaneously living in Montreal in 1962 and 2012.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Ru

Ru

Kim Thúy’s Ru just won Canada Reads, but we’re not convinced:

“It is perfect book club fodder: Exotic, but not too foreign. Well written, but not hard to read, not overly literary. From Quebec, but universal enough to be translated and read in so many languages. It’s a safe choice, part of a rather bland current of global world literature that takes few risks.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Interview with Madeleine Stratford

Interview with Madeleine Stratford

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis. In the future, we’ll talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

Madeleine Stratford is a poet, a literary translator, and an associate professor of Translation at the Université du Québec en Outaouais.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Madeleine Stratford
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Terreur dans le Downtown Eastside

Terreur dans le Downtown Eastside

In her debut novel, the first in an upcoming trilogy, Jacqueline Landry takes us by the hand and leads us deep into the bowels of the Vancouver ghetto, where a serial killer is targeting prostitutes who work the streets.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by David Warriner
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Les peaux cassées

Les peaux cassées

The title is a pun. “Pots cassés” means “pieces” or “consequences” (as in “picking up the pieces” or “suffering the consequences”) but in this charming, inventive little novel its homonym is taken literally: Richard works at a clinic repairing “broken skin.” We’re in an allegory. And more often than not Dallaire’s metaphors are taken literally, taking on a physical presence in this world of his imagination.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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ZORA, un conte cruel

ZORA, un conte cruel

“On the docks Tuomas had appointments with merchants from far-off lands. He bought jaborandi leaves from Brazilian dealers. Zora had heard him lose his temper in Chinese with a merchant from the court of the Qing dynasty who had been asking an exorbitant price for three swallows’ nests. She had seen him kiss on both cheeks a hirsute Iberian who had come to sell him bismuth. On the wharfs, in the grimy little cafés where Tuomas conducted his business, Russians, Swedes, Asians, and lanky Saxons with greasy moustaches drank alcohol, played dice, hurled abuse at each other, and stared at Zora with wide animal eyes.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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Wildwood

Wildwood

“I was sixteen years old, and the world was in revolution. In Vietnam, the Americans were sacrificing an entire generation of young men to a war that was lost before it started. In France, the month of May would go down in history. In Quebec, Catholicism was losing its grip and new idols—drugs, separatism, and Charlebois songs —were taking its place in people’s hearts.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by David Warriner
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Sports et divertissements

Sports et divertissements

Every minute spent in this anti-hero’s company is a delight. There are dizzyingly great drunken scenes, there’s cocaine, orgies (“The pool filter had better be in top shape—it’s going to have its work cut out”), spiked drinks, illegal border crossings, unfastened seatbelts, bad sex, a suicide, and more bad sex (“At least he came. My pride is intact.”). And yet as readers we demand more. More! we shout as we bounce from excess to excess.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Translation Interview with Cassidy Hildebrand

Translation Interview with Cassidy Hildebrand

This is part of an ongoing series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis, and the second to focus on the translation process. In the future, we’ll talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

Cassidy Hildebrand is a freelance translator, reader, and writer. She recently published Death Sentences with University of Ottawa Press.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Cassidy Hildebrand
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Le rôle des cochons

Le rôle des cochons

“The verdict is in!” Moranget declares as he sits down among us that same evening by the fire. “The ringleader will be hanged tomorrow for desertion. Right there on that tree. You’ll all be here to see it—a reminder of the fate that awaits traitors working against His Majesty’s will. The second deserter has wholeheartedly repented and our leaders have chosen to be lenient. Nonetheless, he will have to sign an agreement to serve the King, right here in this very land, for ten years.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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A Stone in My Shoe

A Stone in My Shoe

George Ellenbogen’s A Stone in My Shoe: In Search of Neighbourhood is his story of Jewish culture within Montreal. Cities don’t live just in facts, anecdotes, and people, but in myths, in the rumours passed around neighbourhoods by enthusiastic children, or adults amusing themselves by telling tales.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by P.T. Smith
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Le rôle des cochons

Le rôle des cochons

This is an action-packed young adult novel, weaving real historical events and heavy themes into the day-to-day concerns of a young boy between the ages of 12 and 16. It is written simply and well, posing some troubling questions along the way, all based around De La Salle’s expedition to Louisiana in 1684.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Terreur dans le Downtown Eastside

Terreur dans le Downtown Eastside

“Which makes that neighbourhood a prime hunting ground for anyone who gets a kick out of roughing up sex workers. They’ve got free rein down there. The last twenty-five years have shown me that. All those prostitutes, drug addicts, and transsexuals on the street down there have no protection whatsoever.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by David Warriner
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Serafim and Claire

Serafim and Claire

“He followed Claire into the club, keeping close as they walked deeper into the bare-bulbed electric light, where sweat, smoke, alcohol, and perfume washed over them in a raucous wave that almost knocked Serafim back. The music was more ardent and raw than in the other clubs, with newly arrived musicians pulling bronze trumpets and saxophones out of cases lined with purple velvet and shouldering their way closer to the stage. To Serafim, it was bedlam. Claire, on the other hand, fed on the chaos.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Read the excerpt
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Les peaux cassées

Les peaux cassées

“On the way home, at the corner of 1st Avenue and 18th Street, I would invariably cross paths with the Scarecrow. Rain or shine, there he stood, arms outstretched, a Christ-like figure at the crossroads, taking blows to the face from passersby. Every day I found him in more of a mess than the night before. As living conditions worsened, pressure rose in the city and the Scarecrow was its barometer.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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A Close Call for Christmas

A Close Call for Christmas

This witty and beautifully illustrated children’s story is guaranteed to brighten your Holiday season.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Wildwood

Wildwood

Somehow Wildwood manages to be a coming-of-age story, a murder mystery, and a critique of America’s involvement in Vietnam through the eyes of the generation that may have felt its fallout the strongest.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by David Warriner
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ZORA, un conte cruel

ZORA, un conte cruel

Set in a make-believe 19th century Finland, Zora is beautifully written literary fiction. It’s much more than page-turning fantasy, although the pages turn almost by themselves. First and foremost, it’s original. Above all else, it’s a story. And what a story. What a book.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Chercher Sam

Chercher Sam

Chercher Sam is a simple novel, a novel of the street, written in the language of the street. It is simple, but not simplistic, instead adding depth and interest to the character we most often ignore, the one we try not to talk to, the one we walk by, the one we don’t want to touch: the homeless guy in the street with his dog.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Serafim and Claire

Serafim and Claire

Despite what the title may have you believe, Serafim and Claire is no love story. It is a novel about rash decisions, about the interconnectedness of our lives, and about chasing dreams. But there is a sweetness to the story, a redemptive quality to its end. It is the kind of novel that keeps you up with the bedside lamp on until the last page is turned.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Arielle Aaronson
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Frères

Frères

Frères is a reflection of our own familiar world in a distorting mirror, a world of “monstrous creatures, bigger than anything they could imagine, two-headed fish, turtles with shells as huge as islands, whales with mouths big enough to swallow whole cities,” all seen through the eyes of two brothers, the elder missing an arm, the younger fashioned by his mother from that arm so that his sibling would not have to face the cruel world alone.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Interview with Felicia Mihali

Interview with Felicia Mihali

This week Québec Reads spoke with the author of A Second Chance, Felicia Mihali.

“This book would have been something completely different in French. It would have been a tragic, Shakespearean novel about faith, misfortune, hardship. When you know a language too well you cannot avoid the pitfall of giving too many details. My first experience with writing in English was the chance to be simple, colloquial, and funny. My previous books written in Romanian or French are really missing mockery which, as a reader, I appreciate a lot in a book.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review and interview with Felicia Mihali
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A Second Chance

A Second Chance

A Second Chance by Felicia Mihali tells the story of a Romanian couple in the impressively multicultural city of Laval. It’s spring 2012 and Adam is recovering from a stroke. His right arm has been left paralyzed and his memories are almost completely gone. Daily life with his wife is both deathly dull (trips to Costco and the mall) and full of fear (he’s too afraid to answer the phone, scared that people will speak to him in the language he has now forgotten).

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Read the excerpt
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Interview with Billy Robinson

Interview with Billy Robinson

This is the sixth in a series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis. In the future, we’ll talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

Billy Robinson is a bookseller at Coop ÉTS in Montreal. Originally from the Gaspé Peninsula, he is a keen reader of Quebec fiction and an active blogger. His recommendations on Goodreads (and elsewhere) are always worth following.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Billy Robinson
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Peut-être jamais

Peut-être jamais

“The first night happened at Sébastien’s place. Christophe was away, staying with friends in northern France. The bottles of wine had racked up fast, as had the cigarettes. We were like three shipwrecks on the couch, but our hands were already wandering like earthworms searching for a crack in the ground after the rain.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by David Warriner
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Peut-être jamais

Peut-être jamais

Peut-être jamais is a novel that might well pull you out of your comfort zone. Maxime Collins clearly has talent and conjures up some inspiring words that spur the reader to reflect on the challenges of growing up, the fleeting nature of youth, and how our lives can change in a split-second.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by David Warriner
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My October

My October

My October has impressive depth, building layer upon layer of personal, family tension. Can all this tension be boiled down to politics? Perhaps. But what comes first is family drama and lots of it in a very readable, cinematic page-turner.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Le vertige des insectes

Le vertige des insectes

“Mathilde felt her chest tighten. Maybe her heart was breaking. The days passed by unnoticed. A gloom woke her in the morning and enveloped her at night. Sadness caught up with her in each corner of the apartment.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Arielle Aaronson
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Le vertige des insectes

Le vertige des insectes

Le vertige des insectes is a subtle, unspectacular novel of checked smiles and repressed emotions. But still waters run deep.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Translation Interview with Arielle Aaronson

Translation Interview with Arielle Aaronson

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis, and the first to focus on the translation process. In the future, we’ll talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

Arielle Aaronson is a teacher and translator and recently published 21 Days in October with Baraka Books.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Arielle Aaronson
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Cycling to Asylum

Cycling to Asylum

Cycling to Asylum is a mostly successful blend of various genres, set in future versions of New York City and Montreal.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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Hollywood

Hollywood

“I told her again that there is only one tragic drama in America: our emotions. The true victims of a great calamity are our feelings and perhaps those of the people closest to us. Nothing more.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Kathryn Gabinet-Kroo
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Hollywood

Hollywood

Is Hollywood a tragic love story, a parable of strength in the face of adversity, or a seething social commentary? No matter how you see it, Marc Séguin keeps us guessing until the final twist.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by David Warriner
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Je suis là

Je suis là

Christine Eddie’s third novel is “a true story, but not quite the truth.” Eddie has romanticized the story of a family friend, a real-life Angèle struck down by real-life tragedy. She is there to tell us her story. Because Angèle cannot.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation and review by Peter McCambridge
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La Première minute de Mathieu

La Première minute de Mathieu

This short little book for younger readers is simple and touching throughout. It gives a voice to the Mathieus of this world. The little boys we pass in the street, the ones playing alone in the park. Tibo’s writing lets us hear their suffering, their cries for help.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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La Première minute de Mathieu

La Première minute de Mathieu

“Some sunny mornings, I open my bedroom curtains and it feels like the sky is black, the sun is black. Everything alive is the colour of coal, weighing down on my shoulders. In this dark world, only the water in the river throws up bright rays of light.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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Interview with Andrew Greenfield

Interview with Andrew Greenfield

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis. In the future, we’ll talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

Andrew Greenfield is an avid reader, and is passionate about books. He moved to Quebec City in early 2009, and lives there with his wife and children. He runs La Bouquinerie Anglaise, an English bookstore, and publishes Life in Québec Magazine, and LifeinQuebec.com, both of which provide news and information in English about the region.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Andrew Greenfield
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On the Crow

On the Crow

As a writer, Robert A. Poirier is in no hurry. Details and descriptions build like moss on a rock. At times, the writing is as crystal clear as river water. At others, it’s as tangled and sprawling as a busy forest floor. Gruff conversation gives way to dry dates softened in warm tea. Even in the few stories not directly set in the great outdoors, nature usually gets a say (in a Christmas Eve snowstorm, for example). Characters whisper softly “like an eddy as it swirls, flowing downstream with the current” as Poirier brings nature to life, with its sights and sounds and smells. All in all, it’s a pleasant stroll through this collection of short stories in an outdoor world of spring and thaw and Malamutes.

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Interview with Marie-Hélène Vaugeois

Interview with Marie-Hélène Vaugeois

This is the third in a series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis. In the future, we’ll talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

Born in 1968, Marie-Hélène Vaugeois has been closely involved with the world of books from an early age: her father is historian and publisher Denis Vaugeois, and her mother opened Librairie Vaugeois on Avenue Maguire in Quebec City in 1974. In other words, the bookstore was Marie-Hélène’s playground before becoming her workplace.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Marie-Hélène Vaugeois
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Un vélo dans la tête

Un vélo dans la tête

More than a straightforward travelogue, Un vélo dans la tête is exquisite, so good you could stick a pin in it and come up with a paragraph to remember, a turn of phrase that rolls around memorably in the mouth before bringing a smile to your lips.

We leave Loreto in a cumulus of dust. Me up front. I pedal and turn around sometimes, out of habit. Usually I like looking at the invisible trail I leave behind on the roads. But this time I turn around. And I see Sam.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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Un vélo dans la tête

Un vélo dans la tête

More than a straightforward travelogue, Un vélo dans la tête is exquisite, so good you could stick a pin in it and come up with a paragraph to remember, a turn of phrase that rolls around memorably in the mouth before bringing a smile to your lips.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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An essay on Hubert Aquin

An essay on Hubert Aquin

The violent power of language and the way Aquin uses that to create his prose style is what most directly unites Next Episode and The Invention of Death. Unique may be an overused word, one which often comes with an unnecessary modifier, but Aquin is just that: unique, utterly mad, yet coherent. Aquin’s prose is a form of logorrhea that finds sense and beauty again and again.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Essay by P.T. Smith
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Interview with Robin Philpot

Interview with Robin Philpot

This is the second in a series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis. In the future, we’ll talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

Robin Philpot founded publishing company Baraka Books in 2009 and is also an author. Baraka Books has published more than 30 books from Quebec, many of them translated from the French.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Robin Philpot
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Interview with Dimitri Nasrallah

Interview with Dimitri Nasrallah

This is the first in a series of interviews with people who are closely involved with Quebec literature on a daily basis. In the future, we’ll talk to publishers, readers, bookstore owners, and translators to get a feel for today’s publishing scene in Quebec.

Dimitri Nasrallah is the fiction editor for Esplanade Books imprint, published by Véhicule Press, and the author of two award-winning novels.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Interview with Dimitri Nasrallah
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