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Fiction Literary


by (author) Larry Tremblay

translated by Sheila Fischman

Initial publish date
Apr 2020
Literary, Psychological, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price
    $16.95 USD

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Bestselling author Alice Livingstone is dead. She leaves her philosopher husband, Antoine, to deal with her legacy, towards which he feels increasingly estranged. Confronted with his wife’s much-reported disappearance, Antoine revisits their past relationship: open and liberal on the outside, but constrained and deviant on the inside. The news of the day (the death of JFK Jr., the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk), which plays on the television running in the novel’s background, gradually becomes significant in the lives of the protagonists – as revealed in Alice’s mysterious, posthumous last novel, A Pure Heart. Bit by bit, as we move closer to the novel’s centre, its narrators lose reliability; their discourses and pretenses become more and more confused, fragmentary, and misleading. Good intentions become corrupted and appearances prove to be deceiving. Impurity’s conclusion is as gripping as it
is asphyxiating.


After his masterpieces The Orange Grove and The Obese Christ, Larry Tremblay, one of Québec’s most accomplished novelists and playwrights of the last two decades, offers his readers a riveting mystery, a self-reflective enigma whose decoding places on trial the
literary form itself.



A playful and macabre narrative tour de force, Impurity weaves a fascinating web of interlocking narratives in an epistolary puzzle connecting forms with voices, and voices with revelations.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Larry Tremblay is a writer, director, actor, and specialist in Kathakali, an elaborate dance theatre form which he has studied on numerous trips to India. He has published twenty books as a playwright, poet, novelist, and essayist. Thanks to an uninterrupted succession of new plays (Anatomy Lesson, Ogre, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, Les Mains bleues, Téléroman, among others) in production during the 1990s, Tremblay’s work continues to achieve international recognition. One of Quebec’s most versatile writers, Tremblay currently teaches acting at l’École supérieure de théâtre de l’Université du Québec à Montréal.

Editorial Reviews

"A page-turner ... suspenseful and readable from start to finish."—Montreal Review of Books


“I thoroughly enjoyed the interlocking layers of this book. Entertaining and complex, Impurity invites a second reading between the lines.”—Miramichi Reader


"A tightly nested narrative … Tremblay offers an incredibly rich character study … [he] plays with philosophy, with time, with authorship, with language and names, and with a host of representational, structural, and post-structural features … The story pulls us forward through a series of crises, each building to the next and bringing us to the brink of empathy.”—Rain Taxi


“[S]traightforward, almost stark, an effective contrast to the emotionally heavy material”
Montreal Review of Books

“I thoroughly enjoyed the interlocking layers of this book. Entertaining and complex, Impurity invites a second reading between the lines.” —Patricia Sandberg,

Other titles by Larry Tremblay

Other titles by Sheila Fischman