In the second novel in Tremblay's Crossing series, we follow Maria, the mother of Rheauna, as she leaves Providence, New England, pregnant and without a husband, to join her brother and two sisters in Montreal. Crossing of the City takes place a year before and a year after that of the previous novel, Crossing the Continent.
Born in a working-class family in Quebec, novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay was raised in Montreal’s Le Plateau neighbourhood. An ardent reader since a young age, Tremblay began to write, in hiding, as a teenager. One of the most produced and the most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Tremblay has received countless prestigious honors and accolades. Because of their charismatic originality, their vibrant character portrayals and the profound vision they embody, Tremblay’s dramatic, literary, and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity; his plays have been adapted and translated into dozens of languages and have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East. Of his own work, Tremblay has said, I know what I want in the theatre. I want a real political theatre, but I know that political theatre is dull. I write fables.”
Tremblay’s novel The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant was long-listed for the CBC Canada Reads program in both 2002 and 2003. In 2004, he appeared as a guest of honour at the Calgary WordFest. In January and February 2005, the Manitoba Theatre Centre presented TremblayFest: a two-week extravaganza in which fifteen of Tremblay’s stage plays were performed by sixteen different theatre companies. In April 2006 — as Montreal concluded its term as World Book Capital — Tremblay was the recipient of the Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix, awarded annually in recognition of a lifetime of literary achievement to a writer of international stature and accomplishment. He lives half the year in Montreal and the other half in Florida.
Sheila Fischman is a member of the Order of Canada and has a doctorate from the University of Waterloo. In 1999, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa. A two-time Governor General’s Award winner, Fischman has translated from French to English more than a hundred novels by such prominent Quebec writers as Michel Tremblay, Jacques Poulin, Anne Hébert, François Gravel, Marie-Claire Blais, and Roch Carrier. She is a founding member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and has also been a book columnist for the Globe and Mail and Montreal Gazette. In 2008, Fischman was awarded the prestigious Molson Prize for her outstanding contributions to Canadian literature. Originally from Saskatchewan, Fischman currently resides in Montreal.
“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
“The empathy and tenderness that Tremblay has for his characters is evident on every page of the novel Crossing the Continent.” – Le Devoir
“In this brilliantly constructed, coming-of-age novel, Nana learns and guesses a lot of things about each of the characters she encounters. By the end of her journey, she is not the same: she is not an adult, she is not a teenager, but she has learned things about life that she had never suspected existed.” – Voir
“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