Post Tagged with: "Peter McCambridge"

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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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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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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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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Un vélo dans la tête

Un vélo dans la tête

“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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Le chant de la terre innue

Le chant de la terre innue

To the north, shoulders leaning over the rim of the horizon, mountains crane their broad necks to peer into the depths. Slowly, wind and time relieve them of their own weight: they fill out like geese, then lift their necks and take off into a sea of stars. Other mountains, closer to me, come brand new out of the ground, take the same path, and prepare for their mass migration through the black waters of the night.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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Le chant de la terre innue

Le chant de la terre innue

A mother bear has her life spared by a hunter and celebrates by flinging salmon at her young. Far-off storms rumble in the distance. Clouds become heavy as mountains. It rains for days and nights at a time. An igloo is a “den of ivory where time has fallen asleep,” time itself “nothing more than a glacial night, death as far as the eye can see.”

Le chant de la terre innue is a book of images. A novel on time and space and nature. A novel of time and space and nature. Beautiful descriptions follow each other seamlessly, never feeling gaudy or overdone.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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J’haïs les Anglais

J’haïs les Anglais

The Plains of Abraham. The Durham Report. The War Measures Act. Conscription. Stephen Harper. The Orangemen. Rob Ford… The narrator of J’haïs les Anglais has plenty of reasons to hate “the English,” his catch-all term for anyone who speaks the language of Yes, No, Toaster that he can’t understand.

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

La Fiancée américaine

On September 1, 1939, a huge ass rose on the German horizon. Like a star, it climbed high into a sky normally filled with pale moons, patches of fog, and the occasional harmless witch. Once it was nice and high in the sky, it began to shit, Kapriel. In your country, it snows. Well here, it shits. Brown sticky, stinking flakes of it began to fall lazily to the ground. They fell on people, on cars, on the Olympic Stadium… First across Germany, then across the rest of Europe. At the start, we managed to shovel away the shit that was falling, but soon it was up to our knees, then our waists. It shat for six years. Even today, we’re still shoveling away the shit that began to fall that day. What? You thought it had been shitting for a long time before that in Germany? Yes, but it only began to stink on September 1, 1939. You know the rest.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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New Tab

New Tab

“Best way to describe my relationship with my hair would be ‘Hostage situation.’”

New Tab is a touching portrait of life in Montreal as so many of us know it today. Morissette’s is a unique voice, but at the same time it’s the voice of a generation, the voice of our generation.

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New Tab

New Tab

New Tab is a touching portrait of life in Montreal as so many of us know it today. Morissette’s is a unique voice, but at the same time it’s the voice of a generation, the voice of our generation.

“I thought about things like self-esteem, success, relationships and self-improvement all being for other people. I thought about self-sabotage being for me.
Later, I stared at what looked like the beginning of a sunrise.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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La Saison des pluies

La Saison des pluies

La Saison des pluies (The rainy season) tells the story of a seven-year-old boy dealing with his father’s death. This children’s book is very short (around 4,000 words), but it is telling that it was written by a poet: every word packs a punch. The overall effect is simple, beautiful, and very sad. It has won all kinds of awards since it was published.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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J’écris parce que je chante mal

J’écris parce que je chante mal

“You’ll lock your bedroom door, putting up a ‘No Adults’ poster. I’ll swear I find the whole thing idiotic, even though I’ll envy your own little kingdom where your worries seem very small indeed to me from the outside. Your arms, your nose, your ears will grow too quickly and you’ll look like a monkey for a while. Your mother will still think you’re gorgeous. I won’t be so sure.”

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Peter McCambridge
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J’écris parce que je chante mal

J’écris parce que je chante mal

J’écris parce que je chante mal is a thoroughly charming collection of very short fiction, each short story lasting no more than a paragraph or a page or three. In all, around 100 stories make up the 200 pages.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Review by Peter McCambridge
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