(This third volume in the Chronicles of the Plateau Mont-Royal?an epic series of novels which imagines the lives of the characters of Tremblay’s plays?deals with an explicitly gay thematic: Tremblay’s metaphor for the Québécois desire for a more glamorous identity on the world stage.)
This is the third volume in Michel Tremblay’s six-volume Chronicles of the Plateau Mont Royal, an epic series of novels which imagines, in prose, the lives of the characters of Tremblay’s plays, in which each of them acts out their own personal drama: their loves, their disappointments, their travails, their agony and their ecstasy. It is in the novels, however, that these characters are seen in their context of time and space: the neighbourhood in which Tremblay and his extended family lived and grew up.
The Duchess and the Commoner focuses on Albertine’s brother, Édouard, brother-in-law to “the fat woman’ and uncle to Marcel, and to the “fat woman’s’ son. In ths volume, Édouard launches his forays into the 1940’s world of Montréal show-business and creates his own astonishing role within it. As with all the novels in this series, a certain sense of wonder, even magic, emanates from the grandmother, Victoire, which in this episode is seen flowing through Édouard to his nephew, the brilliant and disturbed Marcel.
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.