Image: Julie Lequin, Character from the video TRUE STORIES (ALMOST), C-Print, 30 x 30 inches, 2009 (detail)
This month we present writing from Quebec. On the margins of both French and North American literary cultures, Quebec literature goes beyond its national identity to take its place in the world. Set in city skyscrapers and rustic retreats, featuring characters ranging from adulterous hockey stars to faithful Canadian Heart Association donors, these stories demonstrate the diverse vitality of Quebecois writing. Nicolas Dickner's publishing phenomenon literally takes over the world. Governor General's Award-winner Sylvain Trudel witnesses a shocking adolescent prank. Dominique Fortier's alienated wife struggles with secrets and sashimi, while Nadine Bismuth's single women pick at choucroute and each other's boyfriends. Pan Bouyoucas's ditherer gives thought to giving blood. Graphic novelist Pascal Girard attends a disastrous high school reunion. Hélène Dorion speaks to dreams, and Christine Germain walks with a ghost. And critic Elsa Pépin provides context for and commentary on this vibrant literary culture. We thank Blue Metropolis Foundation, the Délégation générale du Québec à New York, the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles, and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for their generous support of this issue.
In work from three Russians, poet Larissa Miller considers coincidence, Natalia Klyuchareva watches a boy discipline his drunken parents, and Dmitry Biriukov eavesdrops on love. In the third installment of "Our Man in Madrid," Chile's Carlos Franz exposes the callous indifference of old emigrants to new. And we bring you the final episode of Eom Jeong-Hui and Ko Im-Hong's graphic novel The Secret of Frequency A.
The Zacharias Ascaris Affair
At daybreak on a rainy November 1st humanity sank into a great prehistoric silence
Welcome to the Club
Clutched to her chest was a huge pot of stewed pig's feet she’d made the day before.
In Praise of the Margins
Quebec writers have drawn their strength from their minority status.
Don't move. You're bleeding.
The circular shape etched by the heat of the lightning was still visible
An instant later a blaze shot up just above the ground, a live torch–a big cat in flames.
from “The Window of Time”
Shadows crash across the flesh of houses
And I'm supposed to become an accomplice to these Frankensteins!
Where hard veins wake up on a mattress of abandonment.