Les Sources - Marie-Hélène Lafon - ed. Buchet-Chastel
Cantal, 1967. A nameless woman. Three children, and a husband who suffocates, who controls in a myriad of ways, his abuse always lurking on the periphery, an abuse that is both physical and emotional. Over the course of a weekend, the woman will ponder her position - that of homemaker in a rural farming family, who is trapped both socially and geographically. Whilst readying her family for a visit to her parents, she will contemplate the unspeakable as she goes about these domestic tasks - the possibility of emancipation, of divorce, and an end to the domination to which she is subjected.
Precise and incisive, Lafon’s latest is a powerful evocation of rural life, and a startlingly clear exploration of her character’s interior lives.
Triste Tigre - Neige Sinno - ed. POL
Winner of this year’s prix Femina, Neige Sinno’s most recent work is an earth-shattering childhood memoir of the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather between the ages of 7 and 14. A violence she lived with, and continues to live with, but that she was finally able to articulate at the age of 20, when she brought charges against her abuser, who admitted and was charged with 9 years in prison. From the beginning, Sinno is clear - she does not believe in the power of literature to heal. What she seeks to do in her novel is get into the head of her rapist, to understand his motives. What follows is an incisive analysis of abuses of power, judiciary systems, and how to articulate the inarticulable. To do the latter, Sinno radically reinterprets numerous classic texts on rape and incest- Toni Morrison, Christine Angot, Nabokov’s Lolita amongst others in a quest to answer her question - how to enter the head of the monster himself, and not just the head of the victim?
An explosive and unforgiving text, frank and unflinching in the face of trauma, and one that radically turns the traditional confessional novel on its head.
Que notre joie demeure - Kevin Lambert - ed. Le Nouvel Attila
Céline is a famous Montreal architect, at the top of her game - Netflix series, high profile commissions the world over, she’s got it all. But her most recent (and most ambitious) commission, has been met with unexpected public backlash. Accused of forwarding gentrification in the local community, and with her working processes criticised, she soon finds herself fired from her own firm. Convinced of her role as a bringer of beauty and modernity into the world, she is forced to confront her own fallibility and privilege.
In Lambert’s Medici prizewinning novel, the upper echelons of society are put under scrutiny - what lies do they tell themselves in order to justify their privileges? And what happens when these are taken away?
Told in sinuous prose, Lambert deftly unpacks his characters’ thoughts and feelings, ably painting a portrait of contemporary Montreal society.