White Resin is an ethereal love story of the almost-impossible reconciliation between the manufactured world and the haunting and feminine nature that envelops it.
In this impassioned and wildly imagined story of creation, a girl named Dãa, is born to “twenty-four mothers,” the sisters of a convent at the edge of the Quebec taiga. Nearby, at the Kohle mining company, a woman dies giving birth to Laure, a child with albinism, in the workers’ canteen. What follows is a dream-like recounting of their love affair and the family they bear, a captivating magic-realist tale of origins and opposites, that would be fantastical if it did not ring so true to the boreal north. White Resin is at once a dream-like romance and an homage to gorgeous, feral, and fecund nature as it both stands against and entwined with the industrial world.
About the authors
AUDRÉE WILHELMY was born in 1985 in Cap Rouge, Quebec and now lives in Montreal. She is the winner of France’s Sade Award, has been a finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the Prix France-Québec and the Quebec Booksellers Award. The Body of the Beasts is her third novel and the first to be translated into English.
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.
- Long-listed, Governor General's Literary Award
White Resin restores a vision of the Canadian wilderness more in line with Indigenous ideas of a mutually dependent relationship between humanity and the natural environment. As a novel for our ecologically riven moment, it’s particularly powerful. As a lyrical, strange, occasionally mysterious story, it is unlike most anything else you’re likely to read in quite a while.
That Shakespearean Rag
By means of a demanding and chiseled prose, eminently poetic, rich in neologisms and in borrowings from native and northern European languages (several can be found in a very convenient ‘Lexicon’), Wilhelmy draws us into a reality that is both familiar and transfigured, where femininity and nature maintain profound and mysterious relationships.
[A] poetic, imaginative tale about the relationship between nature and industry.
There is something about Audrée Wilhelmy I cannot find anywhere else. It’s in her style, of course. In her method, certainly. In her inventiveness, no doubt. But it goes beyond all that. With Wilhelmy, it lies in the pact she makes with the reader, as if the singularity of the universe she offers us does not come so much from literature, as from witchcraft. An ode to all-powerful freedom: of the body, of the land, of language, and of the feminine.
White Resin is an enchanting, heartbreaking novel.
Like the places she creates, Audrée Wilhelmy’s literary domain is vast and never ceases to dazzle.
The lingering power of the story lies with the vivid imagery Wilhelmy conjures … Susan Ouriou’s translation is a marvel of precision and musicality.
Canadian Notes & Queries