Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award: Translation. Shortlisted for the Cole Foundation Prize for Translation.
In Mai at the Predators' Ball, Marie-Claire Blais, literary legend and four-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, offers a mesmerizing and unforgettable portrait of imaginary beings who seem to embrace the whole of humanity.
Every night in the Saloon, after darkness falls, a group of boys are transformed into creatures we see only in dreams. They adorn themselves in colourful dresses and wigs and they take to the stage to sing and dance. They open their arms to those who are excluded -- both men and women, triumphant and threatened, both free and bound -- and every evening is a carnival of freedom and transgression.
With this masterful novel, Blais invites us to share the drama of perfect joy, the tragedy of happiness, and she gives us her best work yet.
Spencer admirably captures what one might call the 'breath' of Blais’ prose, although this is a somewhat misleading term, since, unlike the oral style of Joyce’s paradigmatic Finnegans Wake, Blais’ narration, exploiting the French tradition of the segmented sentence, is very much a written form. This difference in language and literary tradition presents the translator with a serious challenge, which Spencer has met with wonderful skill.
... [a]hallucinatory and poetic story, ripe for underlining and rereading ... Mai at the Predator’s Ball will reward you.