Posted: Monday August 28, 2017
Fall fiction is in the house! New novels by Wajdi Mouawad and Philippe Arseneault
[Anima and Zora, A Cruel Tale]

Two new novels are now available! Our fiction game is strong this fall: two unforgettable, dark, magical tomes by two mighty Quebec authors have been translated into English by some of Canada’s strongest translators.

Anima ($19.95 CDN) is the much anticipated novel by playwright Wajdi Mouawad. It has won numerous international awards and been translated into multiple languages – but never English, until now: an elegant translation by Linda Gaboriau at last brings this celebrated novel to English readers. This masterful novel is told in a bestiary of voices; more than fifty animals, birds, and insects, each with their own characterization and style of speaking, reveal the unflattering contrast between the human and the natural. While set in North America, Mouawad’s Lebanese roots suffuse the text, which becomes an examination of cultural influences and at the same time an excavation of childhood trauma and the legacy of war. For Anima opens with the protagonist arriving home to find his wife brutally raped and murdered. Driven by grief and the need to find whoever did this – “I want to see his face, I want to know who he is” – the protagonist sets out on a desperate journey from Montreal to Indigenous Communities along the Canada–U.S. border, south through Civil War sites in the Midwest, to Animas, New Mexico. The furious odyssey awakens long-buried memories that make present circumstances even more painful.

Zora, A Cruel Tale ($19.95 CDN) is in the house, too! Arseneault’s Rabelaisian fantasy is a gothic tale of the macabre and the bizarre, of black magicians and alchemists, and of the life and times of Zora Marjanna Lavanko, the daughter of a brutish tripe-dresser who dies for love. Deftly translated by Fred A. Reed and David Homel, this surreal novel is set in the murky fictional domain of the Fredavian Forest, in the very real province of Karelia, then a part of the Grand Duchy of Finland, in the closing years of the nineteenth century. Many years of work brought forth this finely rendered fantasy. While some readers might be put off by the cruelty, violence, and mayhem of the text, those who persist will be rewarded with black humour and the fine display of a full range of human emotion.

Order your copies today!

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