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Ian McGillis reviewed Michel Tremblay’s latest novel for the Montreal Gazette on January 14, and he’s clearly a fan! We are so pleased to see this delightful book and its excellent translator, Sheila Fischman, lauded. Read the full review online – “Michel Tremblay’s epic chronicle rolls on” – and see highlights below.
Crossing the City is the follow-up to Crossing the Continent and forms the middle part of The Desrosiers Diaspora … Looking back over it all, as narrative arcs intersect and overlap and characters cross over between the plays and the novels, it dawns on you that this is all really one big work, telling one big story. In this case, though, “big” shouldn’t mean intimidating. In a perfect world you’d see every play and read every novel in sequence, but happily you don’t need to, because each instalment is also built so it can stand on its own. …
Throughout, what strikes perhaps strongest is something that has been evident with Tremblay right from the start: few men write about women with his empathetic immediacy and emotional acuity. The way they talk to each other, the various masks and voices they adopt according to the needs of the moment, their deep reserves of humour and compassion — the Desrosiers sisters, and indeed the young Nana, are so alive on the page that you all but hear them speaking.
I was in a café recently when a francophone friend saw that I was reading a Tremblay novel and, after professing herself a huge fan, asked “Is it good in English?” A fair enough question for any translation, but in this case it goes beyond the standard concern about how well any text can survive the journey from any one language to any other. Tremblay, remember, hit the scene not simply writing in French, but in a specific kind of French: Les Belles-soeurs presented joual on the stage for the first time and created a new era overnight in the process. Ever since, anyone taking on the task of representing Tremblay in a foreign tongue has had an extra responsibility, and it is to Sheila Fischman’s great credit that at not one moment in Crossing the City does the reader sense that something might be getting lost. Fischman has been doing precisely this kind of thing for so long that, in her own way, she is every bit the icon Tremblay is.
So, to answer the question: yes, it is good in English.
By R. Kolewe
Inspecting Nostalgia is a new collection of poetry by R. Kolewe. This, his second collection, brings together found text and fragments of various writers’ work with scraps from his own journals.
In this third week of National Poetry Month 2017, and in advance of Kolewe’s Toronto launch on May 8, please enjoy two poems from the collection on Meta-Talon.Thursday April 13, 2017 in Meta-Talon
Stephen Collis’s latest collection of poetry is nominated for the 2017 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. It rethinks the relationship between human beings and the natural world and searches for ways we can continue to resist. Today on Meta-Talon, we offer a section from “Reading Wordsworth in the Tar Sands,” the second long poem in Once in Blockadia.Monday April 10, 2017 in Meta-Talon
For you, in solidarity, during this National Poetry Month, a poem from Jónína Kirton’s new collection.Thursday March 23, 2017 in Meta-Talon
Critically acclaimed poet and Vancouver native Adeena Karasick was in her hometown last month to celebrate the donation of her archive to Simon Fraser University. The Collection of Contemporary Literature at SFU’s Bennett Library contains one of the biggest selections of avant-garde poetry in North America.
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.