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Fiction Literary

Augustino and the Choir of Destruction

by (author) Marie-Claire Blais

translated by Nigel Spencer

House of Anansi Press Inc
Initial publish date
May 2007
Literary, Visionary & Metaphysical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2007
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2007
    List Price

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In Augustino and the Choir of Destruction literary legend and three-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award Marie-Claire Blais delivers the third volume in the prize-winning series (These Festive Nights, Thunder and Light, Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, and Rebecca, Born in the Maelstrom) acclaimed as one of the greatest undertakings in modern Quebec fiction.

Augustino and the Choir of Destruction is set on an island in the Gulf of Mexico that is home to the full spectrum of humanity: the rich, the poor, the powerful, the humble, artists, criminals. With her unique, signature use of punctuation, Marie-Claire Blais manages to brilliantly show in one flashing stroke men and women; victims and tormentors; child kamikaze pilots and petty thieves from Bahama Street; Charles, a great poet cut down by AIDS; Cinderella, a transvestite prostituting himself to a customer at the Porte du Baiser saloon; Caroline, an artist and photographer who has seen all the hidden treasures of the world; and Augustino, a clairvoyant child-writer. These individual destinies combine in Blais' vision to form a single harmonic texture.

About the authors

Marie-Claire Blais is a defining figure in Canada&146;s literary landscape, with over 30 books to her credit, including La Belle Bete (Mad Shadows), published when she was twenty, Une Saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel (A Season in the Life of Emmanuel), which is now taught regularly in university and college courses, and Soifs (These Festive Nights), which won the Governor General's Award in 1996.

Marie-Claire Blais' profile page

Nigel Spencer's work includes acting, directing, teaching, educational research and training, journalism, subtitling and co-scripting films, as well as script-doctoring.

He taught the first bilingual graduate course on Comparative Canadian Dramaturgy (l'Université de Sherbrooke), and a performance-based course on Shakespeare at the State University of New York (Plattsburgh).

He has published six books of translated work by Marie-Claire Blais, including Thunder and Light, Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, and Mai at the Predators' Ball, which earned him three Governor General's Literary Awards for Translation.

His theatre translations include three plays by Evelyne de la Chenelière, one of which, September, will be produced by Canadian Stage in Toronto in 2020.

Nigel Spencer's profile page


  • Winner, Governor General's Award: Translation

Editorial Reviews

Spencer's translation is true to the original, with all the characters - all of humanity - as guests at the same party, united by thought, history, and art.

Montreal Review of Books

The acceleration of our lives...deftly translated by Nigel Spencer. These people do exist. On the page, however, they take on surreal dimensions, the fragments of their lives woven together through Blais' dark, magical prose.

Montreal Gazette enriching and stimulating read, a tour de force that will fit in comfortably with the rest of Blais' finest.

Quill & Quire

Blais' writing is...challenging but highly skilled...the complexity of which only a seasoned writer could pull off...

Globe and Mail

Nigel Spencer has performed a tour de force in Augustino and the Choir of Destruction...Spencer has risen to the extraordinary challenge of rendering Blais' uninterrupted stream of hallucinatory prose into an accomplished and lyrical translation.

Governor-General's Jury Citation

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Other titles by Nigel Spencer

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