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Articles tagged "French-canadian Literature"

New Fiction in Translation: 自害 (Jigai), Part 2

This is the second of two installments of Samuel Archibald's "自害 (Jigai)," from the short story collection Arvida, forthcoming in the US by Biblioasis on November 24. The collection has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize, Canada's largest award for fiction. Read the first installment here. 4 Reiko says: I did not invent the art; the art invented itself through me. In due course we became aware that certain wounds, as they healed,...

Encountering the Unfamiliar

Before I lived in Canada, I knew very little about Aboriginal people, either their history or their contemporary lives. However, my first temp job in Vancouver was as a filing clerk at the Department of Justice, where I spent my days working with paperwork relating to the Aboriginal children who were forced to attend residential schools all across Canada. The schools, which were funded by the government and run by churches (mainly Catholic and Anglican), were established in the...

The Sex Life of the Writer

Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. —Ernest Hemingway   A friend recently lent us a book called The Sex Life of Immanuel Kant.1  Its author,  one Jean-Baptiste Botul, examines the philosopher’s lifestyle, which besides the usual mingling and chitchat boiled down to study, study, and more study. And thus Kant not only preserved himself from marriage but from ever making room in his life for a woman, not the smallest corner. For a man to be chaste his...

The Zacharias Ascaris Affair

It all began five years ago, going on six. Ballast Publishing, a fledgling British publishing house, had just launched the first (and last) novel of its catalog, The Zacharias Ascaris Affair. No one, absolutely no one, could have foreseen the upheaval that this book would set in motion. Admittedly, the adventures of the young Zacharias Ascaris, though narrated with an undeniable flair for suspense, were in no way extraordinary. A group of adolescents, a few twists, a love story, a touch...

Welcome to the Club

It was a spring evening and Dylane had invited us to her apartment in Rosemont, which she’d bought a few months earlier. It was the first time we were going to see it, so Hélène suggested we buy a plant she could transport by car, and we’d all contribute what we could. The choucroûte garnie on the table was ridiculously outsized, and we wondered how we’d make our way through it. With summer on the way, we were all watching our weight and picked at our...

Unagi

On July 16, 2009, a young woman who was dining out with her husband in a Japanese restaurant in downtown Montreal died instantly when a concrete block fell from the front of the building and landed exactly where she was seated. This is not her story. She looked at her watch (5:15 p.m.), then brought to her lips the glass of water the waiter had just set in front of her. There was a small stain on the cuff of his white shirt that could have been soy sauce. The smell of chlorine filled...

Two Faces

Eyes closed, I see again the delicate edens growing in the frost on the windowpanes. Luminous garlands woven into the snow-covered railings during the festive season to celebrate the birth of a child-god. The bloody flame of the burner glowing red through the window of the oil-fired boiler cast onto the walls glimmers of the eternal cremation of souls. Our mother’s wigs made from the hair of Filipinas killed during the war. Our socks which she mended with eelskin. The crickets our...

from “The Window of Time”

IV. You dream of cities not eroded by time, of forests that form immense paths, you dream, and on the sea the masts of ships gnaw away at white stones, the swell chafes the shore, you dream, but dawn still takes a long time to blow upon the ruins, shadows crash against the flesh of houses, rattle the fragile frames of windows through which you see a bit of hope, you believe, as slowly as a poem is constructed inside yourself, you gather these places one by one,...

Gandhi’s Admirer

Twelve till midnight. On this Saturday, March 8, he was listening to a recap of the day’s hockey games on the kitchen radio, making a cup of hot chocolate to drink while he watched the film Gandhi, which was to be shown on TV at midnight, when suddenly a news bulletin made him curse. A bomb attack would hardly have elicited a sigh from him. Bomb attacks, like interethnic strife, mass murders, and satanic rituals, had become daily news fodder. Even a plane crash in downtown...

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