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Fiction Literary

The Hollow Beast

by (author) Christophe Bernard

translated by Lazer Lederhendler

Initial publish date
Apr 2024
Literary, Sagas, Humorous
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price

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A Globe and Mail Most Anticipated Spring Title

Don Quixote meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit in this slapstick epic about destiny, family demons, and revenge.

1911. A hockey game in Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula. With the score tied two-two in overtime, local tough guy Billy Joe Pictou fires the puck directly into Monti Bouge's mouth. When Pictou's momentum carries them both across the goal line in a spray of shattered teeth, Victor Bradley, erstwhile referee and local mailman, rules that the goal counts—and Monti's ensuing revenge for this injustice sprawls across three generations, one hundred years, and dozens of dastardly deeds. Fuelled by a bottomless supply of Yukon, the high-proof hooch that may or may not cause the hallucinatory sightings of a technicolor beast that haunts not just Monti but his descendants, it's up to Monti's grandson François—and his floundering doctoral dissertation—to make sense of the vendetta that's shaped the destiny of their town and everyone in it. Brilliantly translated into slapstick English by Lazer Lederhendler, The Hollow Beast introduces Christophe Bernard as a master of epic comedy.

About the authors

Christophe Bernard's profile page

Lazer Lederhendler is a full-time freelance translator specializing in contemporary Québécois fiction and nonfiction. His work has earned him many distinctions in Canada and abroad, including multiple nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award, which he won in 2008 for the translation of Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner. He is also the translator of Gaétan Soucy’s novel, The Immaculate Conception, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for French to English translation, and the winner of the Cole Foundation Prize for Translation awarded by the Quebec Writers’ Federation. Lazer Lederhendler lives in Montreal. 

Lazer Lederhendler's profile page


  • Winner, Quebec Booksellers' Prize
  • Winner, Jovette-Bernier Award
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Award for Fiction in French
  • Winner, Quebec-Ontario Award

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Hollow Beast

"[A] big, high octane novel . . . Thomas Pynchon meets Rabelais and Don Quixote meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit are two of several crossbreed critical comparisons the book has inspired."
Globe and Mail

"Bernard weaves a multicoloured, shimmering tapestry of the Gaspé . . . The many threads aren’t necessarily gathered into a neatly finished selvage by the time the reader gets to the end of the book, but the journey they have been taken on is so immersive, so grounded in a place and the characters that inhabit it, that it hardly matters."
—Cassandra Drudi, Quill and Quire (starred review)

"Christophe Bernard reveals himself as a master of epic storytelling."
—CBC Books

"The Hollow Beast is a sprawling story of generational feuds and old hostilities that refuse to die . . . the novel also unfurls like a knowing parody of such epics, blending hallucinatory moments and possibly nonexistent cryptids with a decades-spanning narrative."
—Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders

"Leave[s] a mark on the broader landscape of CanLit. The author travelled far and wide before diving into novel writing, and absorbed important lessons from modern literary greats, channelling his experiences and influences into a singular voice."
—Open Book

"From rural Quebec, a sprawling, antic, alcohol-soaked family saga centered on a feud with the postman . . . full of slapstick and fresh, lively language and outlandishness . . . it's rollicking, inventive fun."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Mixing family history with local lore, the satirical novel The Hollow Beast is a tale of revenge and hauntings.”
—Isabella Zhou, Foreword Reviews

"A master of epic storytelling, The Hollow Beast is an inherently fascinating saga of a read from start to finish."
—Midwest Book Review

“Quebecois writer Bernard debuts with a feverish burlesque about a one-time hockey player’s decades-long dispute with a referee and his grandson’s attempts to reverse the family curse . . . Bernard’s bawdiness and mania credibly evoke Thomas Pynchon’s flights of invention.”
—Publishers Weekly

"A controversial goal at a 1911 hockey game in the Gaspé Peninsula leads to a family vendetta that spans more than three generations and 100 years, shaping the destinies of a small town and its inhabitants. With The Hollow Beast, translator Lazer Lederhendler brings Quebec author Christophe Bernard’s 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award–shortlisted novel to English readers."
—Cassandra Drudi, Quill and Quire

"Christophe Bernard has hollowed out the past like a beast and, like an alchemist, has excavated a language of pure gold. He has added a great, savage nugget to Quebec literature."
La Presse (Montreal)

"Christophe Bernard scores a huge hit with The Hollow Beast . . . He gives birth to a sort of crazed novel in the form of a fireworks show . . . Bernard slips into the patchwork skin of a kind of Thomas Pynchon crossbred with Rabelais and Victory-Lévy Beaulieu (with a pint of James Joyce) . . . His writing is flamboyant with vernacular flights. An example of utter mastery."
Le Devoir (Montreal)

"The reader swims in sheer delirium reading The Hollow Beast, a novel from the Gaspé that takes place over several generations. Passionate and unsettling . . . A universe plugged in at 10,000 volts!”
—Radio Canada

"A tale with plenty of momentum that covers a whole century and is at once fantastic, funny, cruel, brilliant."
—Le Journal de Montréal

"A family saga unlike any other . . . And it's funny! I envy this writer's talent."
—L'Actualité (Montreal)

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