From the moment he takes drastic action to defend his adoptive mother from violent sexual assault, Joseph finds himself retreating into an increasingly abstract world where he must confront what he calls his “visions.” In reaction to his indistinct trauma, Joseph sets out to reconcile the contradictory themes in his life, including abandonment, madness, love, and death, as the reader experiences, through letters and journal entries, the creation and development of an artist “in his own words.”
Madeleine Gagnon has made a mark on Quebec literature as a poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer. Since 1969, she has published more than thirty books while at the same time teaching literature in several Quebec universities. Nancy Huston has described Madeleine Gagnon as someone in whom the boundary between inner and outer life is porous; her words are poetry and her ear for the words of others is poetry too. Everything she takes in from the world is filtered, processed, transformed by the insistent rhythms of the songs within her.
Phyllis Aronoff lives in Montreal. She has a Master’s degree in English literature. The Wanderer, her translation of La Québécoite by Régine Robin, won the 1998 Jewish Book Award for fiction. She and Howard Scott were awarded the 2001 Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Award for The Great Peace of Montreal of 1701. She is currently president of the LTAC.
Howard Scott is a Montreal literary translator who specializes in the genres of fiction and non-fiction. His literary translations include works by Quebec writer Madeleine Gagnon and Quebec science fiction writer Élisabeth Vonarburg. In 1997, Scott received the prestigious Governor General’s Translation Award for his work on Louky Bersianik’s The Euguelion.
"... effective as an act of mourning and, ultimately, healing."
Montreal Review of Books, Crystal Chan
“[Gagnon is] someone in whom the boundary between inner and outer life is porous, her words are poetry and her ear for the words of others is poetry too. Everything she takes in from the world is filtered, processed, transformed by the insistent rhythms of the songs within her.”
“After reading a book like this, you just want to remain silent, to talk only to yourself, in order to keep alive in your mind the resonances of a unique fictional world that has touched you, charmed you and won you over, revealing truths about both an individual and his society at the same time.” —La Presse
“The magic of Gagnon’s writing, her metaphysical descriptions and elicitory vocabulary, her understanding of the workings of the mind, makes Joseph a empathetic character. Against the Wind is an intuitive novel, a spellbinding look into the mind of a man who is a son, an artist, a lover and a father.”
—The Toronto Star, Jennifer Hunter