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Friday June 16, 2017 in Books
This award-winning novel by playwright Wajdi Mouawad is a thriller and a road novel – written in the North African storytelling tradition in which events unfold from an animal point of view.
The novel opens with the protagonist arriving home to find his wife brutally raped and murdered. Driven by grief and the need to find whoever did this – “I want to see his face, I want to know who he is” – the protagonist sets out on a desperate journey from Montreal to Indigenous Communities along the Canada–U.S. border, south through Civil War sites in the Midwest, to Animas, New Mexico. The furious odyssey awakens long-buried memories that make present circumstances even more painful.
This masterful novel is told in a bestiary of voices; more than fifty animals, birds, and insects, each with their own characterization and style of speaking, reveal the unflattering contrast between the human and the natural. Violent and dark, the novel nevertheless moves beyond the thriller genre to become a book of multiple levels, rich in symbolism, and open to complex interpretation. While set in North America, Mouawad’s Lebanese roots suffuse the text, which becomes an examination of cultural influences and at the same time an excavation of childhood trauma and the legacy of war.
Anima has resonated with readers worldwide. It has been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, and Catalan. It won the Thyde Monnier Grand Prize from the Société des Gens de Lettres, the Mediterranean Prize, the Literary Prize for a Second Novel in Laval, the Golden Alga Award, the Phoenix Award (as part of the Beirut Spring Festival), and the Catalan Llibreter Prize for Foreign Novel, all in 2012 and 2013. In 2015, Anima won the Lire en Poche, a prize awarded annually in France in celebration of the paperback book. An elegant translation by Linda Gaboriau brings this celebrated novel to English readers.
ISBN 13: 9781772010039 | ISBN 10:
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 368 pages
$19.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Fiction | Backlist
QUOTES OF NOTE
"Each of these animals and insects is given characterization and a particular voice as narrator, which builds a complex, multifaceted story full of terse language taking readers on a journey from Montreal to New Mexico."
—World Literature Today
“Nature may be red in tooth and claw, but in Wajdi Mouawad’s outstanding novel, Anima, it’s humans who are claw-deep in red and animals who benignly observe. … On one level, the book is a classic murder mystery; on a deeper level, it echoes humanity at its most primal. The animals who tell the tale soar above all, overlaying the harsh, monochrome world of humans with glimpses of a richer world, wonderful in its variety but heartbreakingly beyond our perception. … Startling, inventive, and beautifully crafted, Anima conveys small themes as well as large ones, and does so in a beguiling framework that effectively balances the story’s underlying savagery.”
“Anima’s a novel that seeks to touch your soul. And it does: it is dramatic, intense, dark. Wajdi Mouawad explores the land of his character’s feelings, as well as his own, which is extreme and complex, just as all his literature is. Human limits, such as cruelty and violence, are some of the axis of his work, developed in a very particular and poetic style throughout all his work. A very special and intense author who has many ingredients [and could] end up becoming, [at] some point, a classic.”
About the ContributorsWajdi Mouawad
Wajdi Mouawad (born 1968) is a Lebanese-Canadian writer, actor, and director. He is most known for his work in the Canadian and French theatre.Linda Gaboriau
Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montreal.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.