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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 Carl Peters
On Meta-Talon today, please enjoy the full text of the presentation given by Carl Peters at the Modern Languages Association convention in New York City on January 7, 2018. This talk responds to the question posed in the MLA convention session Rhetoric in Post-Factual Times: how to perform textual analysis in a time when facts are no longer the marker of good argumentation. (Peters’s talk is also related to his work on Stein; Peters is recently the author of Studies in Description: Reading Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons.)Thursday December 21, 2017 in Meta-Talon
Our little end-of-year present to you is a miniature from M.A.C. Farrant’s delightful collection of very short stories, The World Afloat. Happy Holidays from Talonbooks!
Our Spiritual Lives
We’ve seen stains on tea towels that look like Jesus Christ’s face so we know he exists. And we know that dried seaweed can save the Douglas fir from extinction so we hang dried seaweed from the tree’s branches.Tuesday December 5, 2017 in Meta-Talon
A finalist for the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, In a World Created by a Drunken God has been in steady demand since it was first published 11 years ago. From 2006 until the end of 2017, In a World Created by a Drunken God was in print with its original cover, which showed moving boxes and a flip phone. Now, Talonbooks has reprinted In a World Created by a Drunken God for the fourth time, and it wears a dynamic, new cover …Tuesday September 26, 2017 in Meta-Talon
From Oral to Written is a study of Native literature published in Canada between 1980 and 2010, a catalogue of amazing books that sparked the embers of a dormant voice. Leading Aboriginal author Tomson Highway surveys the first wave of Native writers published in Canada, highlighting the most gifted authors and the best stories they have told, offering non-Native readers access to reconciliation and understanding, and at the same time engendering among Native readers pride in a stellar body of work. On Meta-Talon, read a selection from Highway’s prologue.
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.