A World Literature Today Notable Translation of 2020
Sliding doors open and close automatically, exit to the left, entrance to the right. Beyond it, cars go by, and pedestrians and cyclists. A large park behaves as if nothing has happened. The mirage of a world intact.
In an instant, a life changes forever. After he falls from a scaffold on the construction site where he works, the comatose David is visited daily by his wife, Caroline, and their six-year-old son Bertrand—but despite their devoted efforts, there’s no crossing the ineffable divide between consciousness and the mysterious world David now inhabits. A moving story of love and mourning, elegantly translated by Lazer Lederhendler, If You Hear Me asks what it means to be alive and how we learn to accept the unacceptable.
Born in Montreal, Pascale Quiviger studied visual arts, earned an M.A. in philosophy and did an apprenticeship in print-making in Rome. She has published four novels, a book of short stories and a book of poems, and has written and illustrated two art books. Her novel The Perfect Circle won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction in French, and, in English translation, was a finalist for the Giller Prize. The Breakwater House was a finalist for the Prix France-Québec, and If You Hear Me was translated into Spanish. A resident of Italy for more than a decade, Pascale Quiviger now lives with her family in Nottingham, England.
Lazer Lederhendler is a full-time literary translator specializing in Québécois fiction and non-fiction. His translations have earned awards and distinctions in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S.A. He has translated the works of noted authors including Gaétan Soucy, Nicolas Dickner, Edem Awumey, Perrine Leblanc, and Catherine Leroux. He lives in Montreal with the visual artist Pierrette Bouchard.
Praise for If You Hear Me
“A difficult subject, realistically treated . . . moving, but not tearful . . . intelligent and well-written.”—Le Figaro
“Ingenious narrative techniques, depth of character, finesse of the pen: Pascale Quiviger plunges into her subject with remarkable skill."—Danielle Laurin, Le Devoir