First published in 1987, Nicole Brossard's classic novel returns to Coach House in a new edition. A seminal text in Canadian and feminist literature, Mauve Desert is a must-read for readers and writers alike.
This is both a single novel and three separate novels in one. In the first, Mauve Desert, fifteen-year-old Mélanie drives across the Arizona desert in a white Meteor chasing fear and desire, cutting loose from her mother and her mother's lover, Lorna, in their roadside Mauve Motel. In the second book, Maudes Laures reads Mauve Desert, becomes obsessed with it, and embarks on an extraordinary quest for its mysterious author, characters and meaning. The third book – Mauve, the horizon - is Laures's eventual translation of Mauve Desert. Like all good translations, it is both the same and revealingly different from the original.
Nicole Brossard's writing is agile and inventive; from moment to moment gripping, exhilarating and erotic. Her language drifts and swells like sand dunes in a desert, cresting and accumulating into a landscape that shifts like wind and words; she translates the practice of translation, the pulse of desire.
'With the appearance of Mauve Desert ... Nicole Brossard reinforces her claim to be ranked among the few truly radical text-makers in North America.'
– The Toronto Star
'In Mauve Desert, Nicole Brossard writes from the point of impact; from the collision between languages, between forms and ideas, between cultures and genders. Her effects too are the effects of collisions: brilliant sparks and white hot fragments, alarm and the possibility of danger, and a momentary light in which we glimpse the bizarrely distorted faces of strangers, which turn out after all to have been our own.' – Margaret Atwood
About the authors
Nicole Brossard was born in Montréal in 1943. Twice Governor General’s Award winner for her poetry, she has published more than thirty books since 1965. Many have been translated into English: Mauve Desert, The Aerial Letter, Picture Theory, Lovhers, Baroque at Dawn, The Blue Books, Installations, Museum of Bone and Water, Fluid Arguments, Notebook of Roses and Civilization and White Piano. She has co-founded and co-directed the literary magazine La Barre du Jour (1965-1975), co-directed the film Some American Feminists (1976), and co-edited the acclaimed Anthologie de la poésie des femmes au Québec (1991 and 2003).
She is an officer of the Order of Canada, chevalière of the National Order of Quebec, and a member of l’Académie des lettres du Québec. She has twice won the Trois-Rivières International Poetry Festival Grand Prix Québecor (1989 and 1999). In 1991 she was awarded le Prix Athanase-David (the highest literary recognition in Québec). Her work has been widely translated into English and Spanish and is also available in many other languages, including German, Italian, Japanese, Slovenian, Romanian, Norwegian, Catalan, and Portuguese. Two anthologies of her work in English have appeared: Selections: the poetry of Nicole Brossard (2010) and Mobility of Light (2009), with another planned for publication in 2020.
Nicole has been awarded le Prix international de la littérature francophone Benjamin Fondane, le Prix du CIÉF for International Francophone Studies, the W.O. Mitchell Prize, and the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize. In 2015, she was included in the dictionary Le Petit Robert des noms propres. In 2018, she was the recipient of the first Violet Prize awarded by the Blue Metropolis Festival. Mauve Desert has been presented as a multidisciplinary creation in 2018 and is slated for an opera adaptation in 2020-21.
In 2019, an anthology of her poetry in Portuguese and a translation of Mauve Desert in Catalan will be published. Her most recent book in English is an art chapbook titled A Cappella with illustrations by Mauricio Corteletti, translated by Erín Moure and Robert Majzels.
Sina Queyras is an accomplished poet and essayist. She edited the first anthology of Canadian poetry published by an American press (Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets). Between 2005 and 2007 she co-curated the path-breaking feminist Belladonna* reading series in New York and was instrumental in bringing Canadian and American poets into conversation. She has published six books of poetry and a novel, Autobiography of Childhood (2011). She received the Pat Lowther Award and a Lambda Literary Award for Lemon Hound (2006). Her most recent book of poetry is MxT (2014).
Other titles by Nicole Brossard
Museum of Bone and Water
All the Feels / Tous les sens
Affect and Writing in Canada / Affect et écriture au Canada
A Nicole Brossard Reader
Writers on Writing in Canada
Regenerations / Régénérations
Canadian Women's Writing / Écriture des femmes au Canada
Fences in Breathing
Mobility of Light
The Poetry of Nicole Brossard