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Monday March 29, 2010 in Books
Édouard, whom we met in The Duchess and the Commoner, a common shoe salesman at the feet of the well-heeled by day; but the “Duchess of Langeais,” star of the transvestite shows on the Main by night, has been left an inheritance by his mother, Victoire. With this money, he sails on the ocean-liner Liberté to Paris, an idealized, glorious foreign place, the art, culture and architecture of which he imagines will be familiar to him from the books and movies he has read and seen. But when he arrives in Paris, his constant encounters with the realities of the primitive and inconvenient aspects of daily life in Europe bring him face to face with the recognition that France is not exclusively the liberating, glorious place he had imagined it to be. The divine Paris, it turns out, does indeed have feet of clay. All of this he records in a diary, which he will send to his sister-in-law, “the fat woman.” Will Édouard survive the disillusionment of both his journey to the imperial centre, and his return to what he previously considered the dull and dreary reality of his life in Montréal? Of course, anyone at all familiar with Tremblay’s characters through either his plays, in which these same characters all appear in a dramatized context, or with the already published translations in this series of novels, can guess at the answer. But nothing, absolutely nothing can equal Tremblay’s telling of this story in his own fascinating and absorbing way.
While all of the six novels in this series recount the moving, hilarious, angry and exotic lives of the generation inhabiting the “Plateau” of Montréal just on the cusp of Québec’s metamorphosis from the oppression of colonialism to a culture with its own identity and language, News from Édouard, volume four in this six-part series of semi-autobiographical novels, is the most pointedly explicit at the level of Tremblay’s sweeping metaphor of Québec’s search for identity, dignity, pride and independence from both its French and its British (Canadian) colonial past.
Other novels in the series include:
The Duchess and the Commoner (1999)
A Thing of Beauty (1998)
Thérèse and Pierrette and the Little Hanging Angel (1996)
The First Quarter of the Moon (1994)
The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant (1981)
ISBN 13: 9780889224353 | ISBN 10: 889224358
6 W x 9 H x 1 D inches | 224 pages
$19.95 CAN / $15.95 US
Backlist | Fiction | Bisac: FIC019000
QUOTES OF NOTE
Michel Tremblay’s long labour of love…is a lasting study of and tribute to his own working-class origins that should stand in time as a literary landmark.
— Toronto Star
About the ContributorsMichel Tremblay
One of the most produced and the most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Michel Tremblay has received countless prestigious honours and accolades. His dramatic, literary and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity, including translations of his plays that have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
Awards and Recognition*
Prix du Grand (2009) La Traversée de la ville (Leméac Editeur Inc.)
Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix (2006)
Globe and Mail Top 100 Books (2003) Birth of a Bookworm
Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play (2000) For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
Chalmers Awards (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1989, 2000)
Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (1999)
Molson Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (1994)
Louis-Hémon Prize (1994)
Montreal Book Fair Grand Public Prize (1994)
Banff Centre National Award (1992)
Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1991)
Chevalier of the Order of Quebec (1990)
San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Festival Long-Standing Public Service Award (1989)
CBC Anik Prize (1988)
Athanase-David Lifetime Achievement Prize (1988)
Quebec-Paris Prize (1985)
Chevalier of Arts and Letters of France (1984).
Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Sheila Fischman was raised in Ontario and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She is a founding member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and has also been a columnist for the Globe and Mail and Montreal Gazette, a broadcaster with CBC Radio, and literary editor of the Montreal Star. She now devotes herself full time to literary translation, specializing in contemporary Quebec fiction, and has translated more than 125 Quebec novels by, among others, Michel Tremblay, Jacques Poulin, Anne Hébert, François Gravel, Marie-Claire Blais, and Roch Carrier.
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.