A spellbinding novel celebrating Indigenous sensuality; the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French. Shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Translation.
When it was first published in Quebec, The Lover, The Lake was heralded as the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French. Today, as it is translated into English for the first time, author Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau would rather call it a celebration of sensuality, another first. At a time when Indigenous peoples were being dispossessed of their land and history as well as their relationship to the body, the love explored by Wabougouni and Gabriel is an act of defiance. Their intimate connection plays out on the shores of Lake Abitibi in an affair as turbulent and unfathomable as the lake itself.
"The aim here is to break free of the bonds of wounds the priests' abuse has left on our bodies and souls, wounds linked to loss--of land, of intimate spaces, of identity both as an individual and community member, of sexual identity, of delight in the body, of innocence and the uncomplicated nature of lovemaking. My hope is that this novel will serve to unearth the seed of joy buried deep in our culture, still profoundly alive . . . The Lover, the Lake shows us that we are not just suffering and victims: we can also be pleasure." -- Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, from the prologue
About the authors
Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau is an internationally recognized painter and writer of Cree and Algonquin origin. She has published three novels and a poetry collection in French. She lives in Abitibi, in northwest Quebec.
Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli have co-translated 14 fiction, non-fiction, and children's books. Ouriou was awarded the Governor General's Award for Literary Translation in 2009. Ouriou and Morelli both live in Calgary.
Susan Ouriou is an award-winning literary translator who has translated the fiction of Quebec, Latin-American, French and Spanish authors. She won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation in 2009 for Pieces of Me by Charlotte Gingras, after first being shortlisted for The Road to Chlifa by Michèle Marineau and then for Necessary Betrayals by Guillaume Vigneault. The Road to Chlifa was also awarded an honour list placing by IBBY (International Board of Books for Youth) as were Naomi and Mrs. Lumbago by Gilles Tibo, This Side of the Sky by Marie-Francine Hébert and Pieces of Me. Necessary Betrayals was also voted one of the 100 best books of 2002 by the Globe and Mail. Another translation, The Thirteenth Summer by José Luis Olaizola, was runner-up for the John Glassco Translation Prize. She has worked as the director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre and as faculty for the Banff Centre's Aboriginal Emerging Writers residency. She is the editor of the 2010 anthology Beyond Words – Translating the World.
Praise for Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau
"Poetic and hauntingly beautiful." - Canadian Notes and Queries
"A gift to its readers." - Montreal Review of Books
"Both raw and poetic? about healing and continuance? May more French Indigenous writing find its way into English." - Globe and Mail