There are about 800 discussions of books by Canadian writers on BIP, about half the books discussed here, but far more by English-Canadian than French-Canadian writers.
For the 12th Canadian Book Challenge, I will be reading in translation.
But which books? Which French-Canadian writers?
In a previous year (the challenge was previously hosted at The Book Mine Set and is now hosted at The Indextrious Reader), I read through the works of Gabrielle Roy, particularly enjoying The Cashier (1954), The Tin Flute (1945), and The Road Past Altamont (1966), but there are still some essays and her autobiography.
That feels a little like homework, however.
Meanwhile, some contemporary authors have caught my eye:
Dominique Fortier’s Wonder (2010; Trans. Sheila Fischman, 2014)
Claudine Dumont’s Captive (2013; Trans. David Scott Hamilton, 2015)
Nicolas Dickner’s Nikolski (2001; Trans. Lazer Lederhendler, 2010)
Catherine LeRoux’s The Party Wall (2013; Trans. Lazer Lederhendler, 2016), and
Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s Winter Child (2014; Trans. Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli, 2017).
Not homework, simply fine writing.
I also loved Jocelyne Saucier’s And the Birds Rained Down (2011; Trans. Rhonda Mullins, 2012), which I read twice but too quickly to make notes. (I found Twenty-One Cardinals tremendously engaging too, but in a different way.)
All of these writers have other works in print (although I have yet to see which are also available in translation).
And although I don’t have specific titles in mind, I enjoyed Monique Proulx’s Le Coeur est un muscle involuntaire (2002) and Jacques Poulin’s Volkswagen Blues (1984), the first for its writer-ish bits and the second for its wit.
Some of the classics I’ve read, like Hubert Aquin’s Next Episode (1965; Trans. Sheila Fischman, 2001), Marie-Claire Blais A Season in the Life of Emmanuel (1965) and Anne Hébert’s In the Shadow of the Wind (1982) but there are gaps here too (like all of Blais’ Soifs series, but that would be a project all on its own).
And somehow I made it out of high school French, without reading either Ringet’s Thirty Acres (1938) or Louis Hémon’s Maria Chapdelaine (1915). (Although I was envied for having missed the latter.)
And, even though I read the beginning of Michel Tremblay’s The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant and absolutely loved it (1978; Trans. Sheila Fischman, 1981), somehow it got set aside before I finished, with the other volumes in the Chroniques du Plateau Mont-Royal. Ditto for the collection Montreal Noir (edited by Facques Filippi, 2017), which I only dabbled in before returning it to the library unfinished.
Also on my list? When I was a girl, I saw a dramatization of Roger Lemelin’s Les Plouffe (1948), which I loved, and I’ve heard so many good things about Fanny Britt’s Hunting Houses (2015; Trans. Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli, 2017) and Gaétan Soucy (in general).
But this isn’t a reading list, only a beginning.
I don’t want to choose titles because I want this reading project to feel like exploring.
I want to set off with a bagged lunch and optimism rather than a road-map with directions.
Having said that, if you have any recommendations, please share.
And, if you want to sign up for the challenge yourself? (No need to read-on-a-theme or plan ahead, unless you want to.)