The lives of three families intersect in the hallways of an apartment block in a Montreal neighborhood.
Kevin lives in 62. His mom took off but it’s okay because his dad’s a wrestler and he always wins. Even when he gets laid off from his job. Melissa is in 64. She has to look after her siblings because there’s a restraining order that means her mom can’t be within fifty metres of them. So when Melissa needs to tell her something, she leaves a note on the sidewalk near where her mother is looking for customers. And Roxane, in 61, obsessed with the violin, collects her mom’s empties so she can sell them for a snack at the depanneur.
They hear each other through the thin walls. They’re all more grown up than they should be for twelve-year-olds, and they’re all alone -- so alone they don’t even try to find solace in one another’s company.
Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, author of the acclaimed Suzanne (2019 Canada Reads shortlist, Best Translated Book Award nominee, international bestseller), encountered real-life versions of these kids when she was making her film Le Ring. With her characteristic poetic flair and generosity, she has painted, in brief strokes, an unforgettable and moving portrait of a fictional apartment block in Montreal.
“You’ll recognize in this novel scenes from The Ring. The idea for this book was born long before.… After the film, she wanted to pursue their stories, without the heaviness of film.… The narration borrows the point of view and the crude and sometimes awkward language of the characters.” —La Presse
“Barbeau-Lavalette takes on a naive and charming tone without a trace of miserabilism.” —Voir Montréal