The story continues … The second in Michel Tremblay’s new series of novels presents two very different lives. We meet Maria as she leaves the city of Providence, Rhode Island, pregnant and alone. Two years later, we also meet Maria’s older daughter, Rhéauna, as she disembarks the train at Windsor Station, having crossed the continent from her grandparents’ farm in Saskatchewan, called home to Montreal to care for her one-year-old baby brother, Théo, while Maria works.
Along the way, Crossing the City affectionately and accurately depicts Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood at the beginning of the last century. Readers will delight in the small details of description, and Tremblay fans will revel in the backstory to the characters of his great Chronicles of Plateau Mont-Royal, particularly of his mother, celebrated as Nana throughout his work, including as his famous Fat Woman next door. In this novel, Nana is the young Rhéauna, reunited with her mother, Maria, for better or for worse.
Crossing the City continues the Desrosiers Diaspora novel series.
About the authors
One of the most produced and the most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Michel Tremblay has received countless prestigious honours and accolades. His dramatic, literary and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity, including translations of his plays that have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
Awards and Recognition*
Prix du Grand (2009) La Traversée de la ville (Leméac Editeur Inc.)
Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix (2006)
Globe and Mail Top 100 Books (2003) Birth of a Bookworm
Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play (2000) For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
Chalmers Awards (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1989, 2000)
Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (1999)
Molson Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (1994)
Louis-Hémon Prize (1994)
Montreal Book Fair Grand Public Prize (1994)
Banff Centre National Award (1992)
Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1991)
Chevalier of the Order of Quebec (1990)
San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Festival Long-Standing Public Service Award (1989)
CBC Anik Prize (1988)
Athanase-David Lifetime Achievement Prize (1988)
Quebec-Paris Prize (1985)
Chevalier of Arts and Letters of France (1984)
John Van Burek
John Van Burek has been a practising theatre artist for over 20 years, in both French and English, throughout Canada. He has also worked in the fields of opera, film and television. He is also one of Canada’s leading translators for theatre, most notably of Michel Tremblay’s plays, including Les Belles-Soeurs (Talonbooks). Mr. Van Burek has received several awards and citations for his work, including the Toronto Drama Bench Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Canadian Theatre.
Born in Quebec, William Grant (?Bill”) Glassco was a Canadian theatre director, producer and founder of Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre. He then became the artistic director of the CentreStage Theatre Company which merged, in 1988, with the Toronto Free Theatre to become CanStage. In 1982, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
“In this novel, Tremblay not only gives his fans the background they crave on their beloved Plateau characters, he also sets the groundwork for understanding that the world and the people in it are Janus-like. Good and bad, French and English, country and city, moral and immoral, brave and scared, everything is all rolled up into this thing called life.”
– Globe and Mail
“The reader has the impression of actually walking along rue Sainte-Catherine, licking the windows at Dupuis Frères or Ogilvy, inside the skin of this young girl who sees her new city of Montreal as a land of fairytales filled with trams and horse-drawn carriages … it is surprising to discover in this writer an impressive work that dazzles with freshness as young Rhéauna takes in the city on her first day there.”
– Le Devoir
“…few men write about women with his empathetic immediacy and emotional acuity. The way they talk to each other, the various masks and voices they adopt according to the needs of the moment, their deep reserves of humour and compassion — the Desrosiers sisters, and indeed the young Nana, are so alive on the page that you all but hear them speaking. … it is to Sheila Fischman’s great credit that at not one moment in Crossing the City does the reader sense that something might be getting lost. … So, to answer the question: yes, it is good in English.”
– Montreal Gazette