Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Literary

The River of Dead Trees

translated by Nathalie Stephens

by (author) Andrée A. Michaud

Coach House Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2006
Literary, Psychological
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Middle-aged and short on prospects, Charles Wilson returns to Trempes, the village of his childhood, and discovers the body of his childhood friend, Paul Faber, hanging from a tree in the clearing where they played as boys. Thus begins Wilson’s obsessive quest to exhume the secrets of his past and to understand the reasons for his friend’s death. But memories shift, people change and things are never as they seem. Soon Wilson finds himself caught up in a delusory spiral that threatens his very existence.

This is at once a neo-Gothic metaphysical thriller and a meticulous meditation on the unapologetic betrayal of memory and imagination. Wilson’s story bubbles up from the faults between mystery and fairy tale, brimming with characters haunted and tortured by the past, where truth and deception are wound up in time like the gnarled branches of old, grizzled trees.

Reviews of the French edition, Le Pendu de Trempes:

‘This book will make readers experience moments of anxiety bordering on insanity.’


‘This is a fascinating book, and the experience of reading it is absolutely entrancing.’

Le Devoir

About the authors

Nathalie Stephens (Nathanael) writes l'entre-genre in English and French. She is the author of a dozen books including ABSENCE WHERE AS (CLAUDE CAHUN AND THE UNOPENED BOOK) (Nighboat Books, 2009), At Alberta (BookThug, 2008), THE SORROW AND THE FAST OF IT (Nightboat Books, 2007), Touch to Affliction (Coach House, 2006), Paper City (Coach House, 2003), Je Nathanael (l'Hexagone, 2003) and L'Injure (l'Hexagone, 2004), a finalist for the 2005 Prix Alain-Grandbois and Prix Trillium. JE NATHANAEL exists in English self-translation (BookThug, 2006). Other work exists in Basque and Slovene with book-length translations in Bulgarian (Paradox Publishing, 2007). In addition to translating herself, Stephens has translated works by Catherine Mavrikakis, Gail Scott, Bhanu Kapil, and Sina Queyras.

Nathalie Stephens' profile page

ANDRÉE A. MICHAUD is one of the most beloved and celebrated writers in the French language. She is, among numerous accolades, a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award and has won the Arthur Ellis Award for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing, the Prix Ringuet, and France’s Prix SNCF du Polar. Her novel Boundary was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and has been published in seven territories, and the English translation of Back Roads was a finalist for Governor General’s Literary Award. She was born in Saint-Sébastien-de-Frontenac and continues to live in the province of Quebec.


Andrée A. Michaud's profile page

Other titles by Nathalie Stephens

Other titles by Andrée A. Michaud