When the electricity inexplicably goes out nationwide, the mundanities of life gradually shift to the rigours of survival. In this post-apocalyptic setting, an unnamed mechanic jumps into his beat-up car and drives east, journeying 4,736 kilometres to reach his dying father.
As the narrator’s journey becomes one of essentials – gasoline, fresh water only in bottles, and gas-station food – and as the crisis engulfing his surroundings begins to weigh on him ever more, he seeks refuge in a woman, and later, with a fellow traveller he meets on the road. These two kindred souls join him on his path, though they seem to seek a different sort of redemption.
As the road grows longer, and the narrator’s exhaustion grows in kind, parallels are drawn between his own journey and Thesus’s journey through the primeval Labyrinth. However, the beast that our narrator seeks to slay might not be one of flesh and horn and blood; instead, it is his own failing mental state and his thirst for the apocalypse around him. In the end, the obsession with which he pursues this beast will be his undoing.
Running on Fumes, is a road novel that carries with it influences of the genre, with its storylines of redemption through distance travelled, often in a failing world that reflects the protagonist’s interior. It is a hazy line that delineates whether the world is reflecting the narrator’s state or whether the narrator’s mindset is reflected by the world, and there remains a level of uncertainty on the truths the narrator speaks.
“[A] great road story.”
“Brilliant and well-mastered writing.”
“My excitement grew as the kilometres passed ...”
—Littérature du Québec
“A quest for origins that combines fabulation and reality.”
“A taut story of mental and civil collapse.” –Globe & Mail
“An original story that incorporates contemporary concerns … unexpectedly topical … Running on Fumes is a Canadian legend processed as Canadian mythology.”
“Running on Fumes is a taut tale, a classic road trip that kicks off with just a man and his car… Jacob Homel does an excellent job of bringing this across into English —Québec Reads
Born and raised in Montreal, Jacob Homel has translated or collaborated in the translation of a number of works, including Nelly Arcan’s Hysteric and Breakneck, The Battle of London and The Last Genet.
…gripping post-apocalyptic novels initiated with Running on Fumes and prolonged by the international bestseller The …
…life, situated in a world rife with experience. Running on Fumes, his first novel, was published by Talonbooks in …
…, translated by Donald Winkler . Order here. 3. Running on Fumes by Christian Guay-Poliquin , translated by Jacob …
…three collections of poetry have been nominated: Running on Fumes by Christian Guay-Poliquin The Days by M.A.C. …
…administrators, and, finally, the recipient. Running on Fumes by Christian Guay-Poloquin, translated by Jacob …