The second volume in the beloved novelist Marie-Claire Blais’s prize-winning novel cycle — acclaimed as one of the greatest undertakings in modern Quebec fiction — reissued in a handsome A List edition.
Originally published in 2001, Thunder and Light is the second volume in Marie-Claire Blais’s prize-winning Soifs series, hailed as one of the greatest undertakings in modern Quebec fiction. Powered by its characters’ gripping exploration of the world’s dark corners, the novel is a teeming microcosm in which boundaries collapse and the extremes and contradictions that animate our times are reconciled.
Blais locks us directly into the consciousness of her characters, many of whom we met in her previous novel, These Festive Nights, and many that she derives from actual news stories: Jessica, a seven-year-old attempting to beat the world record as the youngest pilot to cross the continent; Nathanaël, a teenager on death row for killing his favourite teacher; Our Lady of the Bags, a modern-day Joan of Arc who lives among Manhattan’s skyscrapers and follows the voices in her head; and Caroline and Jean-Mathieu, aging artists who are fighting to come together again. One character’s thoughts or actions have consequences for another 3,000 miles away who is a complete stranger to the first.
This is an intricate house of cards, delicately but expertly constructed, that shocks us in its perversity and familiarity, ultimately finding hope and redemption in the most human and basic forms of art.
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.
Nigel Spencer's work includes acting, directing, teaching, educational research and training, journalism, subtitling and co-scripting films, as well as script-doctoring.
He taught the first bilingual graduate course on Comparative Canadian Dramaturgy (l'Université de Sherbrooke), and a performance-based course on Shakespeare at the State University of New York (Plattsburgh).
He has published six books of translated work by Marie-Claire Blais, including Thunder and Light, Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, and Mai at the Predators' Ball, which earned him three Governor General's Literary Awards for Translation.
His theatre translations include three plays by Evelyne de la Chenelière, one of which, September, will be produced by Canadian Stage in Toronto in 2020.
The inconsolable vision of the human condition expresses itself in powerful poetic prose, with a sort of multi-voice delirium that becomes an incantation, a prayer almost, and that attains hallucinatory dramatic density . . . We are with a writer at the far reaches of language, in the dazzling fracas of beauty.
Blais is a writer attuned — there should be a stronger word — to our times . . . Readers will be stunned and startled by Blais’ prose. Her characters, each an international mix of intellect, passion, and problems, are constructed with wisdom and compassion.
Quill and Quire
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