A little girl with a beard must find herself a home in this contemporary fairy tale. It's 1944, and a little village in rural Quebec sits quietly beside an aging mountain and an angry river. The air tastes of kelp, and the wind keeps knocking over the cross. Beside that river an eleven-year-old girl lives with her parents. Her mother is very sad, and her father has vanished because he can't bear to look at his own daughter. You see, this little girl has suddenly sprouted a full beard.
And so her mother has shut the curtains and locked the girl inside to keep her safe from the townspeople, the Boots, who think there's something wrong with a bearded little girl. And when they come for her, she escapes into the wintry night
Translated from the French, Little Beast turns the modern fairy tale on its bearded head.
Julie Demers was born in Quebec City in 1987, grew up in Drummondville and now lives in Montreal. A film studies graduate, she heads up workshops across Canada on Quebec cinema, and her work has appeared in cultural magazines. This is her first novel. Rhonda Mullins won the Governor General's Award for Translation and has translated many French novels into English, including mostly recently And the Birds Rained Down and Suzanne.
A cryptic forest prayer, a tale of cruelty, the travelogue of a runaway, Little Beast weaves a remarkable tone with touches of raw naturalism, boreal surrealism, and dreamlike anthropomorphism. Demers's narration, with its classic childlike candor, contains a sort of brutality, revealing the hypocrisy of the adult world.' — Le Devoir