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.
About the authors
Julie Demers lives in Montreal. This is her first novel.
Rhonda Mullins is a writer and translator living in Montréal. She received the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for Twenty-One Cardinals, her translation of Jocelyne Saucier's Les héritiers de la mine. And the Birds Rained Down, her translation of Jocelyne Saucier’s Il pleuvait des oiseaux, was a CBC Canada Reads Selection. It was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, as were her translations of Élise Turcotte’s Guyana and Hervé Fischer’s The Decline of the Hollywood Empire.
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