With this astounding fourth novel in her ongoing series of contemporary masterpieces (These Festive Nights, Thunder and Light, Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, and Rebecca, Born in the Maelstrom), Marie-Claire Blais invites us again to enter a complex circle of unforgettable characters. But this time, the tone is different: Blais' writing has acquired a new, buoyant, electrifying rhythm -- a rhythm some critics have described as the heartbeat of the world.
As we follow a central character named Rebecca, the voice in the novel becomes the voice of the world inventing itself, and the future playing itself out. As the GG jury wrote, this breathtaking paroxysm of a novel turns any commonly held vision of the world upside down. Blais' transcendent prose illuminates her characters with an extraordinary light.
Nigel Spencer is Marie-Claire Blais' long-time translator and a Governor General's Award winner for his work on this series of books. He gives us Blais' singular vision in supple English prose that is as transcendent and nuanced as the original French.
Marie-Claire Blais is the internationally revered author of more than twenty-five books, many of which have been published around the world. In addition to the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, which she has won four times, Blais has been awarded the Gilles-Corbeil Prize, the Médicis Prize, the Molson Prize, and Guggenheim Fellowships. She divides her time between Quebec and Florida.Nigel Spencer has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation with three novels by Marie-Claire Blais: Thunder and Light, Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, and Mai at the Predators’ Ball, which was also a finalist for the QWF Cole Foundation Prize for Translation. He has translated numerous other works and films by and about Marie-Claire Blais, Poet Laureate Pauline Michel, Evelyn de la Chenelière, and others. He is also a film-subtitler, editor, and actor now living in Montreal.
There is pleasure in the rhythm and poetry of the language...this novel keeps company with James Joyce's Ulysses and Virginia Woolf's The Waves or Mrs. Dalloway.
...brimming with tenderness for humanity and an almost religious elevation...
There is only one way to read the latter novels of Marie-Claire Blais. Slowly. One word, one phrase at a time, and then the next....Once it all starts to make sense, you feel utterly grateful and deeply connected, in tune with humanity, mesmerized, ready to go on and on.
...the experience is the only goal; the journey, the reward...a coherent vision of the world.