“Quebec literature is seldom to be found where we expect it.”
House of Anansi
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.
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?
It’s complicated. Ravenscrag involves a writer named Alain Farah who is simultaneously living in Montreal in 1962 and 2012.
“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.”
“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.”