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Fiction Literary


A Novel

by (author) Monique Proulx

translated by Fred Reed & David Homel

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Apr 2009
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2009
    List Price

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A powerful, gently surreal tale of a community at the edge of the modern world.

On the fringes of a small town in the Laurentians lives a community of misfits. There's Lila, the landlady of the forest who shoulders a terrible guilt; the young, beautiful and carefree Violette, who bears deep childhood scars, and the boy Jeremy, who whispers his confessions to the frogs and ants in the forest. There's Claire, who writes murder scenes, and Simon, who cares for his brother's son while pining for various women.


Each character has come to this forgiving Eden to escape some private trauma; forced to interact through loneliness and proximity, they learn each othersí secrets, with stunning consequences.


Told from the perspective of each character, shifting between the past and the present, Wildlives takes the reader on a fantasy ride of intrigue and character exploration. With its existential mystery, evocation of unspoiled nature and spectacular characters, the novel brings to mind Paul Auster, Henry David Thoreau and Isabelle Allende.

About the authors

Monique Proulx is one of Quebec’s most popular authors. A novelist, story writer and screenwriter, she has published six works of fiction, including Sex of the Stars, The Invisible Man at the Window, Aurora Montrealis, The Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle, which was a finalist for the 2002 Governor General’s Award for fiction (French language) and a selection for the 2004 CBC Canada Reads competition, and Wildlives. She also won the 1993 Prix Québec-Paris, le Signet d’Or de Plaisir de lire, le Prix des libraires du Québec and le Prix littéraire Desjardins. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Monique Proulx's profile page

A three-time winner of the Governor General's Award for translation, and shortlisted for his 2009 translation of Thierry Hentsch's Le temps aboli (Empire of Desire), Fred A. Reed has translated works by many of Quebec's leading authors, several in collaboration with novelist David Homel, as well as works by Nikos Kazantzakis and other modern Greek writers. His most recent work, with David Homel, includes Philippe Arsenault's Zora and Martine Desjardins' The Green Chamber. Baraka Books will publish his translation, from Modern Greek, of Yannis Tsirbas' Vic City Express in September. His latest book is Then We Were One: Fragments of Two Lives, an autobiographical essay, published in French by Fides Éditeur.

Fred Reed's profile page

David Homel has translated over 30 books, many by Quebec authors. He won the Governor General's Literary Award in translation in 1995 for Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex? by Dany Laferrière; his translation of Laferrière's How to Make Love to a Negro was nominated in 1988; and he won the prize in 2001 with fellow translator Fred A. Reed for Fairy Wing. His novels, which include Sonya & Jack, Electrical Storms, and The Speaking Cure have been published in several languages. Homel lives in Montreal, Quebec.

David Homel's profile page


  • Nominated, Governor Generals' Literary Award - Translation
  • Nominated, Quebec Writers' Federation Translation Prize

Editorial Reviews

"Monique Proulx has created a magical universe in the forest, peopled by characters with whom the reader will have deep sympathy. And in translation, I did not know that I was reading a novel originally written in French."

Sun Times

"Proulx's writing has a rhythm that mimics nature itself -- sometimes necessarily harsh, at times calm and peaceful, but mostly forgiving and beautiful."

Globe & Mail

"[Monique Proulx] has chosen here to venture outside her usual urban settings, to confront the intoxicating, dizzyingly full-of-life region we call, with so little hope of possessing it, Nature."

Montreal Gazette

"This is a book to savor on summer afternoons in the country...[Proulx] plunges into the Laurentian landscape in this multi-faceted novel."

Montreal Review of Books

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