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Fiction Literary

October 1970

A Novel

by (author) Louis Hamelin

translated by Wayne Grady

House of Anansi Press Inc
Initial publish date
Sep 2013
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Selected as an Best Book.

October 1970. Two kidnappings. One dead. A crisis unlike anything the country had ever seen — here is the story behind history…

Thirty years after the October Crisis, Sam Nihilo, a freelance writer whose career is in a slump, is drawn to the conspiracy theories that have proliferated in the wake of the events. While investigating the death of one of the FLQ hostages, Nihilo sees his life consumed by an inquiry that leads him further into a flurry of facts, both known and newly discovered. Soon, secret agents, corrupt police officers, politicians, and former terrorists of the Front de Libération du Québec form a mysterious constellation around him, and at the centre lies a complicated and dangerous truth.

In the tradition of Don DeLillo’s Libra, October 1970 is a thrilling fictional account of the events that shaped one of the most volatile moments in recent history.

About the authors

Louis Hamelin burst onto the literary scene in 1989 with his first novel, La Rage, which won the Governor General's Literary Award. With this critically acclaimed novel, Hamelin staked out his territory: the cancerous advance of technology, the rape of the wilderness, the estrangement of contemporary society from matters of the soul.

This is Jean Paul Murray's first published literary translation. Previously, he published two translations, Dead-End Democracy?, by Yves Leclerc, and Hello, World!, by Jacques Hebert. Jean Paul Murray lives in Old Chelsea, Quebec, works in the Senate of Canada, and is English translating co-ordinator for the magazine Cite libre.

Louis Hamelin's profile page

Wayne Grady is the general editor of this series of literary anthologies devoted to the world's natural wonders. One of Canada's foremost popular science writers and the winner of three Science in Society awards from the Canadian Science Writers' Association, he is the author of twelve nonfiction books on such diverse adventures as hunting dinosaurs in the Gobi Desert, investigating global warming at the North Pole, and discovering the wild in an urban metropolis. His books include the bestselling Tree: A Life Story, written with David Suzuki, and Bringing Back the Dodo. His most recent book is the award-winning The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region. He lives near Kingston, Ontario.

Wayne Grady's profile page


  • Long-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize
  • Commended, Best Books: Editors' Picks
  • Commended, Quill & Quire Books of the Year: Review Editor's Choice

Editorial Reviews

As a novel that orchestrates the forces, large and small, that compete to dominate and control both personal and public lives, it’s masterful. It successfully captures the feeling of the time and place, it allows the people, the ideas and the actions to speak for themselves, it moves the reader with suspense and tragedy.

Globe and Mail

It's a great ride. This novel carries on the traditions of conspiracy-theory fiction such as James Ellroy's The Cold Six Thousand, about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But October 1970 is a lot funnier and easier to read.

Winnipeg Free Press

This is a masterful work. Hamelin, a novelist and academic, has massaged prodigious research and historical fact into a book that had me laughing and weeping at the same time.

Toronto Star

...October 1970 is a masterful roman à clef about a defining moment in Quebec history.

Montreal Gazette

Hamelin has crafted a politically engaged plot that moves at the speed of a Hollywood thriller.

Quill & Quire

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