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 new 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.
About the authors
William Kennedy, the author of Ironweed, has called Douglas Glover "a very astute literary mind and an excEllent writer . . . a writer of substance," and Philip Marchand has called him "one of the most important Canadian writers of his generation." Even though he is always working outside the box, his books have gained acclaim from the most attentive critics. A Guide to Animal Behaviour was a finalist for the Governor General's Award; H.J. Kirchoff selected The Life and Times of Captain N. as a Globe and Mail top-ten paperback of 2001; and 16 Categories of Desire was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Award for Fiction. Douglas Glover is a Canadian itinerant. He grew up on the family tobacco farm in southwestern Ontario, studied philosophy at York University and the University of Edinburgh, then worked on a series of daily newspapers in New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan before earning his MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1982. He has written story collections, novels and a book of essays. Glover's fiction has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Russian, and French, and his stories have been frequently anthologized, notably in The Best American Short Stories, Best Canadian Stories, The Journey Prize Anthology, The Macmillan Anthology and The New Oxford Book of Canadian Stories. Since he washed up in the upstate New York hinterlands in the early 90s, Glover has taught at Skidmore College, Colgate University, the State University of New York at Albany, and Vermont College. For two years he produced and hosted The Book Show, a weekly radio literary interview program that originated at WAMC in Albany and was syndicated on various public radio stations and around the world on Voice of America and the Armed Forces Network. He has two sons, Jacob and Jonah, who, he says, will no doubt turn out better than he did.
Lawrence Mathews teaches English at Memorial University. He has published stories in numerous anthologies and journals and is the author of The Sandblasting Hall of Fame. He is a founding member of The Burning Rock, a group of Newfoundland writers that includes Michael Winter and Lisa Moore.
- Short-listed, IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
- Winner, Governor General's Award
- Short-listed, Commonwealth Writer's Prize
"Douglas Glover imagines our history as no one else can . . . Equal to Solomon Gursky in its contribution to Canadian mythography."
"[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."
<i>Globe and Mail</i>
"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."
<i>Winnipeg Free Press</i>
"Knotty, intelligent, often raucously funny."
"Lascivious, bizarre, entertaining... Glover has a wonderful facility for imagery, language, farce, and the grotesque."
<i>Quill & Quire</i>
"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."
"A wickedly smart narrative and a post-modern, wise-cracking approach to history."