Winner, Governor General's Award for Fiction
Shortlisted, IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and Commonwealth Writers' Prize
A 16th-century belle turned Robinson Crusoe, a female Don Quixote with an Inuit Sancho Panza — this is the heroine of the novel that won the 2003 Governor General's Award. Elle is a lusty, subversive riff on the discovery of the New World, the moment of first contact. Based on what might be a true story, the novel chronicles the ordeals and adventures of a young French woman marooned on the desolate Isle of Demons during Jacques Cartier's ill-fated third and last attempt to colonize Canada. In this readers' guide edition, Douglas Glover's carnal whirlwind of myth and story, of beauty and hilarity brings the past violently and unexpectedly into the present. His well-known scatological realism, exuberant violence, and dark, unsettling humour give his unique version of history a thoroughly modern chill.
"Knotty, intelligent, often raucously funny."
"Historical fiction at its most innovative, a seriously whimsical book full of arcane lore from the first days of the European settlement of the New World. A remarkable, wondrous experience."
"A packed read, delivering imagery, history, humour, and wonderfully creative writing."
"Lascivious, bizarre, entertaining... Glover has a wonderful facility for imagery, language, farce, and the grotesque."
"[Elle is] a maginificent hail Mary of pure imagination... a ribald, raunchy wit with a talent for searing self-investigation... Glover's prose throughout, while being consistent in voice, is also a rich blend of elegance and punch, raw affect and slippery allusion."
"Douglas Glover imagines our history as no one else can . . . Equal to Solomon Gursky in its contribution to Canadian mythography."
"A wickedly smart narrative and a post-modern, wise-cracking approach to history."
"A boisterously bawdy re-dreaming of the birth of the nation."
"A historical novel with a postmodern heart . . . Elle occupies a frozen nether world between fantasy and reality."