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Fiction Contemporary Women


by (author) Vickie Gendreau

translated by Aimee Wall

Book*hug Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2016
Contemporary Women, Biographical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price

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On June 6, 2012, Vickie Gendreau was diagnosed with a brain tumour. In between treatments, between hospital stays and her "room of her own," she wrote Testament, an autofictional novel in which she imagines her death and at the same time, bequeaths to her friends and family both the fragmented story of her last year and the stories of the loved ones who keep her memory alive, in language as raw and flamboyant as she was.

In the teasing and passionate voice of a twenty-three-year-old writer, inspired as much by literature as by YouTube and underground music, Gendreau's sense of image, her relentless self-deprecation, and the true emotion in every sentence add up to an uncompromising work that reflects the life of a young woman who lived without inhibitions, for whom literature meant everything right up until the end.

In this way, Testament (translated by talented writer and translator Aimee Wall), inverts the elegiac, "grief memoir" form and plays with the notion of a last testament, thereby beating any would-be eulogists to the punch.

About the authors

Vickie Gendreau was born in Montréal in 1989. While working in Montréal strip clubs from October 2009 to June 2012, she was also active in the literary community, where she participated in events like the Off-Festival de poésie de Trois-Rivières. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012, and passed away a year later. Her first novel, Testament, written after her diagnosis, was published in the fall of 2012 and longlisted for the 2013 Prix littéraire France-Québec. Her second novel, Drama Queens, was published in 2014. The English adaptation of Testament, translated by Aimee Wall, is forthcoming from BookThug in the fall of 2016.

Newfoundland-native Aimee Wall is a writer and translator. Her essays, short fiction, criticism and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including Maisonneuve, Matrix Magazine, the Montreal Review of Books, and Lemon Hound. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Translation Studies from Concordia University. She lives in Montréal.

Vickie Gendreau's profile page


Newfoundland-native Aimee Wall is a writer and translator. Her essays, short fiction, and criticism have appeared in numerous publications, including Maisonneuve, Matrix Magazine, the Montreal Review of Books, and Lemon Hound. Wall's translations include Vickie Gendreau’s novels Testament (2016), and Drama Queens (2019), and Sports and Pastimes by Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard (2017). She lives in Montreal. We, Jane is her first novel.


Aimee Wall's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Testament’s fragmented texts alternate between the narrator’s private journal and the voices of her friends as they receive her posthumous writing. It is an uncompromising experience, brutal when you least expect it.” —La Presse

“English readers will encounter a translation that faithfully captures Gendreau’s slangy French, and they might note its parallels with works by Sheila Heti or Kathy Acker because of its defiance of a patriarchal literary world, of the so-called rules of self-representation, of what constitutes “women’s writing.” Testament blurs fact and fiction, defying not just how life should be portrayed, but death, too. Don’t be reverent. And don’t pretend that this isn’t a world where “A girl’s skin is being bruised by a man in a van / somewhere.”” —Montreal Review of Books

“Vickie Gendreau’s auto fictional novel Testament is an intimate and emotional read.” —Exeter Examiner

“Like Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?, another recent Canadian auto-fiction, Gendreau’s Testament makes space for female experience through formal experimentation. The challenging form works in tandem with agonizing descriptions of Gendreau’s failing body to resist stereotypes of female quaintness or docility… Aimee Wall, one of Quebec’s most exciting emerging translators, has done a superb job in rendering a novel that is peppered with oblique references and inside jokes, and penned, moreover, in an idiosyncratic mixture of French and English.” —Canadian Literature

“The journey through the end of Gendreau’s life and beyond remains delicate, introspective, and wholly unusual. It is a literary trip worth taking.” —Publishers Weekly

“Thanks in no small part to Wall’s flawless translation, Testament is one of the most original and exciting novels from Quebec I’ve read in a good while… this is narrative as a performance. And what a performance.” —QC Reads

“There is, in Testament, a voice, an energy, a style. Vickie Gendreau was a real talent as a writer. It won’t please everyone, but it’s undeniable. Yes, it’s a cry, sometimes harsh, sometimes confused, it is gut-wrenching and, surprise, is also shot through with touches of humour.” —Chatelaine

“This book is testament to a remarkable final year.” —Atlantic Books Today

“This novel… was felt like a literary tsunami, with the cries of her prose and the intrinsic qualities of her writing.” —Le Canada français

“About leaving something behind which does not end with a period” Buried in Print

“In addition to the confronting her own imminent mortality, Gendreau takes determined ownership of her legacy.” —Quill and Quire

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