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Monday March 29, 2010 in Books
In 1895, the arctic explorer Captain Ian Ryder has let his house in Blackpool on the Nova Scotia coast to the recently married Clara Weiss, who is about to become the compass of a social circle far too intimate for its own good. Lost in a maze of obsessive Victorian pseudo-science and its ignorant fascinations with violence, spiritualism, the reanimation of corpses, the channelling of passions, and especially with the control of every aspect and function of the body, particularly the bodies of women, these characters are increasingly rendered impotent by the collision of their fantasies with their repressions—the sadism of their lust to penetrate others, and the masochism of their own constricted closures.
As Captain Ryder says of his crew as his claustrophobic ship continues to drift, trapped in the harsh white light of the polar ice: “How repelled I feel by this promiscuity with individuals for whom I truly feel nothing but aversion.”
Set in the year Freud published his ground-breaking essay on hysteria, this is a compulsively readable, beautiful and dark novel of personal relations so close they verge on the incestuous, and desires so vast they approach the cold crystalline purity of the archetype.
ISBN 13: 9780889224490 | ISBN 10: 889224498
6 W x 9 H x 1 D inches | 224 pages
$24.95 CAN / $19.95 US
Backlist | Fiction | Bisac: FIC019000
Winner of the 2001 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation
About the ContributorsMartine Desjardins
Martine Desjardins was born in the Town of Mount Royal, Quebec, in 1957. The second child of six, she started writing short stories when she was seventeen. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Italian studies at the University of Montreal, she went on to complete a master’s degree in comparative literature, exploring humour in Dostoevsky’s The Devils. She worked as an assistant editor-in-chief at ELLE Québec magazine for four years before leaving to devote herself to writing. Presently she works as a freelance rewriter, translator and journalist for L’actualité, an award-winning French-language current affairs magazine in Canada. Her first novel, Le cercle de Clara, was published by Leméac in 1997, and was nominated for both the Prix littéraires du Québec and the Grand prix des lectrices de ELLE Québec in 1998. Desjardins currently lives in the Town of Mount Royal with her husband. In her free time, she paints miniature models of ruins overgrown with vegetation.Fred A. Reed
International journalist and award-winning literary translator Fred A. Reed is also a respected specialist on politics and religion in the Middle East. After several years as a librarian and trade union activist at the Montreal Gazette, Reed began reporting from Islamic Iran in 1984, visiting the Islamic Republic thirty times since then. He has also reported extensively on Middle Eastern affairs for La Presse, CBC Radio-Canada and Le Devoir. Reed is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for translation.David Homel
Award-winning author and literary translator David Homel also works as a journalist, editor and screenwriter. He was born in Chicago in 1952 but left at the end of the tumultuous 1960s and continued his education in Europe and Toronto before settling in Montreal in 1980. He worked at a variety of industrial jobs before beginning to write fiction in the mid-1980s. His eleven novels to date have been translated into several languages and published around the world.
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.