Anne Hébert’s The Torrent and Other Stories (Trans. Gwendolyn Moore, 1973)
Beginning these stories on the heels of my Marie-Claire Blais phase? Perfect timing. Hébert, too, has these glimmers of fairy-tale imagery, and she is concerned with bringing experiences onto the page which are too often overlooked. In “A Grand Marriage”, for instance: “Augustin thought of his mother, crushed under the mountains of laundry to be washed, suffocating in the steam of the ironing. And he saw the strong, bony hands of Delia, the Métis woman who had shared his life for several years in the North. In the depths of his heart, he felt the injustice of the world, like an old wound, which he had sworn to avenge.” This collection includes “The Torrent” (1945), “The Coral Frock” (1939), “Springtime for Catherine” (1946-7), “The House on the Esplanade” (1942), “A Grand Marriage” (1962) and The Death of Stella (1963). Best read so that time elapses between pieces. Atmospheric and haunting.