Posted: Friday October 23, 2015
Montreal Review of Books calls As Always “intelligent, passionate, and determined”

In a review by Klara du Plessis, published this week in the Montreal Review of Books, Madeleine Gagnon’s autobiography As Always: Memoir of a Life in Writing ($22.95) is called “intelligent, passionate, and determined,” and its French-to-English translators, Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott, are credited with producing a seemingly “effortless” translation. We couldn’t agree more; As Always is highly readable memoir and an essential contribution to Quebec culture. Highlights from the review follow:

Couched in the English title of Madeleine Gagnon’s newly translated autobiography is a consciousness of the inability to accurately convey the facts of one’s life. Memoir refers not only to a Life, but more specifically to a Life in Writing: “fiction is everywhere when you tell your own story,” Gagnon writes. Autobiography emerges from the contradiction between a unified life and multiple selves. …

Yet in her memoir, Gagnon’s own books and literary achievements feature as side notes. …

It is exactly this marginalization of her writing that highlights its importance. Literature does not need designated segments of narration; it is omnipresent. Always generous to family, friends, and fellow writers, Gagnon is ultimately dedicated to her writing, which is her life. …

As Always is an engaging read that invites both admirers of Gagnon’s writing and a scholarly audience. To the credit of Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott, Gagnon’s voice is unmistakable – intelligent, passionate, and determined – in what appears to be an effortless English translation.

Read the review in full online or in the latest print issue of the Montreal Review of Books, and read an excerpt from the book on our blog, Meta-Talon.

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