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Fiction Literary

These Festive Nights

by (author) Marie-Claire Blais

translated by Sheila Fischman

introduction by Lisa Moore

House of Anansi Press Inc
Initial publish date
Aug 2018
Literary, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1997
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2018
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2018
    List Price

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The first volume in the beloved novelist Marie-Claire Blais’ prize-winning novel cycle — acclaimed as one of the greatest undertakings in modern Quebec fiction — reissued in a handsome A List edition, featuring an introduction by Lisa Moore.

Originally published in 1995 under the title Soifs, the first novel in Marie-Claire Blais’ masterful series won the Governor General’s Award for French Fiction and was hailed by critics around the world as a tour de force, comparing Blais to such literary greats as Virginia Woolf, Dante, Sophocles, and Shakespeare. In this dazzling rendering, These Festive Nights, celebrated translator Sheila Fischman brings Blais’ novel to life for English-speaking readers.

A sun-drenched paradise in the Gulf of Mexico surrounded by the glimmering blue sea; Renata is convalescing on this island poised between two worlds: between great wealth and extreme poverty, between the past and an uncertain future, between the beauty of the world and the horrors of history.

During her time here, Renata becomes tormented by thirst — for justice, for pleasure, for intoxication — while all around her, festivities are going on in joint celebration of the birth of baby Vincent and the end of the twentieth century. Over the course of three days and three nights a flock of characters assembles — an entire spectrum of humanity is depicted in the grip of doubt and suffering. In this swirling, baroque fresco, Marie-Claire Blais captures the essence of our apocalyptic age, rendering it in powerfully evocative prose.

About the authors

Marie-Claire Blais is a defining figure in Canada&146;s literary landscape, with over 30 books to her credit, including La Belle Bete (Mad Shadows), published when she was twenty, Une Saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel (A Season in the Life of Emmanuel), which is now taught regularly in university and college courses, and Soifs (These Festive Nights), which won the Governor General's Award in 1996.

Marie-Claire Blais' profile page

Sheila Fischman's profile page

Lisa Moore is the acclaimed author of the novels Caught, February, and Alligator. Caught was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize and is now a major CBC television series starring Allan Hawco. February won CBC’s Canada Reads competition, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was named a New Yorker Best Book of the Year and a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book. Alligator was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean region), and was a national bestseller. Her story collection Open was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize and a national bestseller. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories called Something for Everyone. Lisa lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Lisa Moore's profile page

Editorial Reviews

[These Festive Nights] resounds with what has become a Blais leitmotif: the spiritual thirst born of hardship, and the hunger for redemption in a brutal world.

The Gazette

Marie-Claire Blais’s best, and without a doubt, the richest and most impressive tableau d’époque I have read in a long time . . . Blais has modestly, generously, written The Divine Comedy of our time.

Le Devoir

[In These Festive Nights] Marie-Claire Blais appeals to the best part of who we are. It’s a book that we finish reluctantly and with a deep sense of gratitude for the characters who, like the heroes of Sophocles and Shakespeare, are the messengers of a hidden truth of fundamental concern to the human heart.

Magazine Littéraire

Other titles by Marie-Claire Blais

Other titles by Sheila Fischman

Other titles by Lisa Moore