Literatureby Lucie Renaud
/ September 1, 2015
With its original and bold programming, the Festival international de littérature has been charming and surprising us for 20 years. This year, running from September 24 to October 3, the festival opening features the poetry of Serge Gainsbourg read by Jane Birkin, Michel Piccoli and Hervé Pierre, secretary of the Comédie-Française. On September 25, 26 and 29, the charismatic Thomas Hellman takes us on a voyage of words and music to our southern neighbours, from the conquest of the West to the depression of the 1930s. And on October 2 and 3, we’ll get a second chance to hear Chloé Sainte-Marie’s rapturous show À la croisée des silences. www.festival-fil.qc.ca/2015
Some new writers to look out for
The new season is of course a time for old favourites. This year, fans will find two books by Marie Laberge (Ceux qui restent, on the effects of suicide, and an essay, both published by Québec Amérique) and a new novel for teens by the prolific Simon Boulerice, which takes the form of an exercise program (Paysage aux néons, Leméac). Also present is Stéphane Dompierre, who concludes his trilogy, which began with Un petit pas pour l’homme; Élise Turcotte, Dominique Fortier, Michel Jean, Gilles Archambault; and the experts of the historical novel Dominique Drouin, Louise Lacoursière and Suzanne Aubry.
And what about new authors from Quebec? After all, the book at the top of the bestseller list for the event “Le 12 août, j’achète un livre québécois” (“On August 12 I’ll buy a Québécois book”) is the powerful La bête à sa mère, the first novel by slammer and poet David Goudreault.
We’ll be on the lookout for the multi-layered Tas d’roches by Gabriel Marcoux-Chabot (Éditions Druide), written in modern French, old French, and Québécois slang, Acadian French and Innu. David Bouchet is a writer and editor who spent most of his life in Dakar before moving to Montreal, in 2010. His novel Soleil (La peuplade)is a story of immigration and the meeting of cultures. “I’d love it if Soleil made the reader feel mellow, like a glass of mint tea with the music of an oud, in the early evening, on a terrace, in a medina,” he muses. Alexandre Soublière’s use of language in Charlotte before Christ caused quite a buzz when it came out in 2012, and we can expect nothing less of his new book, Amanita Virosa, which plays on anticipation, action and love.
Popular culture plays a key role in Poutine pour emporter by Marie-Ève Gosemick (Stanké), halfway between a coming-of-age novel and a road movie, and in Rachel au hockey by Anne-Marie Vertefeuille (Québec Amérique). Keep an eye out too for the first novel written as an adult by Alexandra Larochelle, Des papillons de la gravité. She was only a child when her series Au-delà de l’univers was published, selling over 110,000 copies (Libre Expression).
Two much-beloved actors have taken up the pen for the first time. Sylvie Drapeau’s Fleuve (Leméac) is a poetic tale of love and redemption. Patrice Godin takes more of a narrative approach with his Territoires inconnus, which finds parallels between ultramarathons and his own life (Libre Expression).
On the English-speaking side we can explore The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel (Freehand Books), lavishly praised by critics since its release in May.
Translation: Cecilia Grayson