Heartily sincere, human, and compassionate, Around Her is a multifaceted novel that explores, through the words and reflections of a large community of characters, the bonds that unite us, and love in all of its manifestations – the love that one finds, that one loses, destroys, desires, or recovers.
In the mid-1990s, a sixteen-year-old girl, secretive and vulnerable, gives birth to a healthy boy in the anonymity of a Montreal hospital. She gives him up for adoption – a parting that will affect, perhaps even govern and determine, all successive stages of her adult life.
Around Her traces twenty years of the lives of Florence Gaudreault and her estranged son Adrien through the prism of twenty characters who have crossed their paths and who, each in turn and with their own unique voice, tell their story.
Patiently assembling disparate points of view, those of the young, the old, the families, the couples, or the lonely souls, this novel, replete with emotive twists and turns, probes the failures and hopes of a whole segment of society, revealing the proximity of past traumas.
Around Her is a highly emotional book, written with stylistic virtuosity, and populated with a complex kaleidoscope of voices. Author Sophie Bienvenu has a tangible gift for portraying real-life, contrasting characters, and revealing their idiosyncratic and evolving streams of consciousness. Around Her is Bienvenu’s fiction at its best, rigorously authentic, wholeheartedly humane, and delightfully vulnerable.
Sophie Bienvenu is a Québécois writer. After studying visual communication in Paris, she settled in Quebec in 2001 and quickly established herself as a successful blogger. Et au pire, on se mariera (La Mèche) her first novel, was followed by Chercher Sam (translation forthcoming from Talonbooks, 2019), and Autour d’elle, translated as Around Her by Rhonda Mullins (Talonbooks, 2018). Ceci n’est pas de l’amour (This Is Not Love) was her first poetry collection, published in 2016 by Poètes de brousse. Bienvenu’s writing takes its readers on an emotional journey, an intense exploration of profoundly human characters, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.