An evening at the opera spills out onto the street and into an odyssey through Montreal by night. The narrator, both innocent and cynical, rushes headlong down what appears to be the road to ruin?or perhaps merely to the loss of his virginity. We follow him from a café called El Cortijo (spanish for a country house with a farm building attached) to a nightclub called the Four Corners of the World. This is an urban metaphor for the classic story of the shrewd country boy bedazzled and led astray by the bright lights of the big city. We discover along with him a burlesque world of transgression and madness, where pleasures are far from simple and love is somewhat less than pure. On the street, as at the opera, passions are on the loose and truth and falsehood leave their marks in the service of the urgencies of desire. Will our hero find love and pleasure after all? This evocative account of his adventure is stamped with the ironic and the affectionate wit and humour that characterize all of Michel Tremblay’s novels and memoirs.
Drawing its fiction from many of the autobiographical sketches to be found in Bambi and Me, Twelve Opening Acts and Birth of a Bookworm, and from a collision of the Francophone east and the Anglophone west of Montreal, this novel marks a hiatus between Tremblay’s six-volume Chroniques and his more contemporary novel, The Heart Laid Bare.
One of the most produced and the most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Michel Tremblay has received countless prestigious honours and accolades. His dramatic, literary and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity, including translations of his plays that have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
Awards and Recognition*
Prix du Grand (2009) La Traversée de la ville (Leméac Editeur Inc.)
Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix (2006)
Globe and Mail Top 100 Books (2003) Birth of a Bookworm
Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play (2000) For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
Chalmers Awards (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1986, 1989, 2000)
Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (1999)
Molson Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (1994)
Louis-Hémon Prize (1994)
Montreal Book Fair Grand Public Prize (1994)
Banff Centre National Award (1992)
Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1991)
Chevalier of the Order of Quebec (1990)
San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Festival Long-Standing Public Service Award (1989)
CBC Anik Prize (1988)
Athanase-David Lifetime Achievement Prize (1988)
Quebec-Paris Prize (1985)
Chevalier of Arts and Letters of France (1984)
Born in Saskatchewan, Sheila Fischman is a member of the Order of Canada and has a doctorate from the University of Waterloo.
A two-time Governor General’s Award winner, Fischman has translated from French to English more than a hundred novels by such prominent Quebec writers as Michel Tremblay, Jacques Poulin, Anne Hébert, François Gravel, Marie-Claire Blais and Roch Carrier.
In 2008, Fischman was awarded the prestigious Molson Prize for her outstanding contributions to Canadian literature.