Aïcha is 13. Before she met Baz she was always angry, burning with anger. She trailed her broken childhood around with her, trying her best to avoid her mom, old creeps, and the used needles in the park. But now she’s in love. For the first time, she can see the stars shining in the sky above her neighbourhood in Montreal. Will she get her happy ending?
If you’re the slightest bit squeamish, or a lifelong vegan, you might find yourself skimming over a few sections of this novel. Then again, you might just end up being morbidly fascinated by how close it takes you to nature. Poacher’s Faith is a tale to be savoured.
Each paragraph is a snapshot of everyday life on the reserve, a description of a photo or a memory in the narrator’s mind’s eye, the writing “soft as a partridge’s belly.” And the result is quite beautiful.
Annabelle Larousse’s translation of this François Barcelo short story is one of a collection of six to be released earlier this year. It’s typical Barcelo: dark and funny, with a nod and a wink to a very serious theme (drug abuse) along the way.
I was born in Gagnonville. You wouldn’t have heard of it. It’s not on any of the maps any more. They tore it all down in ’85 when the mine closed. That’s where my dad worked, at the mine. He was union rep. So when it closed down he got seriously depressed. Then again, it might have been finding the neighbour who hanged herself in the shed three days before they razed the town to the ground.
Je me souviens. I remember. The official motto of Quebec is right there on every license plate in the province, and it’s carved in stone over the door to the Parliament Building in Quebec City. It’s also the title of Martin Michaud’s latest detective novel, his third, featuring Montreal Detective Sergeant Victor Lessard.
“In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” While the names of his three vessels—the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María—may ring familiar, the details of Columbus’s inaugural voyage don’t fit as neatly into the answer lines of history exams.
Antoine is an equal opportunity hater. To enjoy Variétés Delphi we must join him. “As we read we throw aside the trammels of civilization, the flimsy veil of humanity. ‘Off, you lendings!’”
Translating is never easy. What about revising a much-loved translation that has become a classic in its own right? Steven Urquhart describes the balancing act.