A modern-day fable and mythic bildungsroman, The Faerie Devouring tells the story of a young girl raised by her grandmother (a stalwart matriarch and wicked fairy godmother) following her mother's death during childbirth. The absent mother haunts the story of this girl whose greatest misfortune is to have been born female.
In this critically-acclaimed coming-of-age story by Quebecois author Catherine Lalonde, and translated by Oana Avasilichioaei, questions of what it means to be born female and grow into a woman are explored. The story is rife with song, myth, phantasmagoria, spells, desire, ferocious poetic telling, wild imagination, and unruly language. Lalonde uses the form of a disenchanted and metaphorical fable to recount what it means to find a life force in one's lineage, even when one is born into "nothing."
Winner of the 2019 Cole Foundation Prize for Translation
Catherine Lalonde lives in Montreal. She writes poetry (books include Cassandre, 2005 and Corps étranger, 2008, winner of the Émile-Nelligan Award) and works as a journalist for the Montreal daily Le Devoir.
Montreal-based writer, translator, and editor Oana Avasilichioaei has published five poetry collections, including Expeditions of a Chimaera (with Erín Moure; 2009), We, Beasts (2012; winner of the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry from the Quebec Writers' Federation) and Limbinal (2015). Previous translations include Bertrand Laverdure's Universal Bureau of Copyrights (2014; shortlisted for the 2015 ReLit Awards), Suzanne Leblanc's The Thought House of Philippa (co-translated with Ingrid Pam Dick; 2015), and Daniel Canty's Wigrum (2013). Her translation of Bertrand Laverdure's Readopolis won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award for Translation.
"Before this truly unique and impressive book, one is both utterly transfixed and fully implicated, mystified and illuminated. Its opacity is inviting, its obscurity intriguing. With The Faerie Devouring, Oana Avasilichioaei doesn't only translate language, she translates a language. A language, because Catherine Lalonde clearly wrote La dé?voration de fé?es in an idiom all her own, specific to herself and her motley cast of spectral characters. In other words, this is a most ambitious translation project. An extraordinary book, and an equally extraordinary translation." —Cole Foundation Prize for Translation Jury Citation
"I want to draw attention to the translator's own virtuosity and dexterity in rendering Lalonde's densely poetic, experimental and semantically complex language. French nursery rhymes and lullabies are transformed into English ones, and passages such as the one above, with its neologisms, English expressions and echoes from other Quebec writers, are joyously and imaginatively rendered." —Event Magazine
"Lalonde's language is organic, pulsing, and repetitive in the way of fairy tales. The Faerie Devouring is a loose, impressionistic text that captures the fraught, shifting relationship between the sprite and her Gramma." —Montreal Review of Books