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Written on Water
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Monday March 29, 2010 in Books

Written on Water

By Michel Marc Bouchard
Translated by Linda Gaboriau

Torrential rains have descended upon a small isolated village, and the overflowing river has washed away everything in its path. The mudslide has gutted the writing room, the place where a group of senior citizens used to meet to record their memories. It was after the exodus of their children that they began to commit to paper the events, large and small, that had marked their lives. Now their papers—fragments of life, scraps of memory—are strewn around the countryside, along with the fragments of their community structures, habitations and memorials. To reverse this devastation, they have to put everything back in order, they have to remember, restore and rewrite, while a group of strangers, young volunteers, pull down the physical remains of what is left standing.

But what words can capture their lives? And for whom are they writing? In his determination to save the images of who they were, Samuel, the elderly leader of the group, is blind to the new reality around him. For some of his old companions, the flood represents an opportunity to make an unspoken dream come true; for others, it is an opportunity to confess secret loves, and to talk about the future. Assisted by Danny-the-Lonely-Child, the only child who never left the village, Samuel begins to realize that these fragments can never be restored—they can only be recombined into a narrative as fresh and new and real as the hopes and dreams of their original authors.

Cast of 3 women and 3 men.

ISBN 13: 9780889224926 | ISBN 10: 889224927
6 W x 9 H x .3 D inches | 96 pages
$15.95 CAN / $11.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000

QUOTES OF NOTE

“Gaboriau’s extensive experience in translating Québécois drama … enable[s her] to bring out the richness and subtleties of the [French text].”
Canadian Literature

“This is a witty satire of one of the more tragic effects of globalization: the disregard for collective memory and for those who, like senior citizens, embody it or, like writers, wish to preserve it… Gaboriau has done a superlative job in reproducing the profound disarray underlying the characters’ caustic humour and their violent reactions to differing points of view.”
University of Toronto Quarterly

About the Contributors

Michel Marc Bouchard

Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard emerged on the professional theatre scene in 1985. Since then he has written twenty-five plays and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including, in June 2012, the prestigious National Order of Quebec for his contribution to Quebec culture, and, in 2005, the Order of Canada. He has also received le Prix Littéraire du Journal de Montréal, Prix du Cercle des critiques de l’Outaouais, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award, and the Chalmers Award for Outstanding New Play. Translated into nine languages, Bouchard’s bold, visionary works have represented Canada at major festivals around the world.

photo: Julie Perreault

Linda Gaboriau

Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montreal. Her translations of plays by Quebec’s most prominent playwrights have been published and produced across Canada and abroad. In her work as a literary manager and dramaturge, she has directed numerous translation residencies and international exchange projects. She was the founding ­director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Gaboriau has twice won the Governor General’s Award for Translation: in 1996, for Daniel Danis’s Stone and Ashes, and in 2010, for Wajdi Mouawad’s Forests.

photo: Josée Lambert


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