Christmas gifts: books to give to the ones you love
The sweetness of memories
IN White shadows (Alto, 2022), Dominique Fortier delved into poet Emily Dickinson’s posthumous collection to contemplate the void created by death and what resists absence. Otherwise more intimate, When will it dawn continues this introspective meditation on mourning, creation, and what remains of it over time. This touching notebook, created after his father’s death, testifies to an intimate knowledge of literature, placed at the service of the eternity of the present and the beauty of small things. A book that has the delicacy of a lily of the valley and the sweetness of memory.
when it dawns, Dominique Fortier, Viola, 104 pages, $18.95.
Blur the barriers
Throughout her long career, Claudie Hunzinger has been interested in those who willingly put themselves on the sidelines, who escape the crazy pace of the world to find refuge near trees and words. This twelfth novel, winner of the Prix Femina 2022, describes a couple of resistance fighters who are isolated in the heart of the Alsatian forest. When a young dog in poor condition appears on their doorstep, two old lovers will see their vision of things and their definition of freedom disrupted. The perspective of a world where borders are abolished, where borders are at the source of the greatest violence – towards nature, towards women, towards differences – will then be blurred to allow for a real encounter. A meditative and poetic novel, imbued with hope.
The dog at my desk, By Claudie Hunzinger, Grasset, 288 pages, $32.95.
Marie-Claire Blais, one last time
We will serve fans of more demanding reading with this posthumous novel by the great writer Marie-Claire Blais, which ends the cycle Thirsty. There we find the character of Augustine, animated from the very first volume of the tragic conscience of mankind series. Now in India, affected by leprosy of an unknown nature, like many, he recalls the tragic fate of his ancestors who perished in the death camps. Added to his memories are the thoughts of a soldier returning from Vietnam, and the thoughts of the US Secretary of Defense, responsible for the invasion of Iraq. Although unfinished, this fragment – a great reflection on the stumbling blocks of history and the inappropriateness of war – summarizes all the formal and narrative legacy of the writer: abundant sentences devoid of punctuation, alternating voices, plunging into horror, a sharp view of the world. We leave shaken by the literary breath, the visionary side, the chance that we were contemporaries of such a great lady.
Augustine or the Enlightenment, Marie-Claire Blais, Boréal, 96 pages, $19.95.
“Today, art is no longer forbidden when you are born female, but that does not mean that all obstacles have been removed,” writes Laure Adler in the foreword of this sublime book, which follows on Female artists are dangerous, published by Flammarion in 2018. This new opus, still written in collaboration with Doctor of Art History Camille Viéville, highlights the extraordinary fates, courage and immense talent of women who fought for the right to create, to put their imagination on canvas, to be recognized as true artists . In addition to giving a historical place to some of the greatest forgotten 19e one you 20e century, the book paints portraits of contemporary designers who amaze with the power of their radicalism and commitment. A true work of art in itself, the book looks very nice on the coffee table… But it is more than that: it gives wings.
Artists more and more dangerous, By Laure Adler and Camille Viéville, Flammarion, 120 pages, $54.95.
For fans of thrillers
WITH green as hellher third novel, Isabelle Grégoire, journalist and collaborator Chatelaine, stands out as an undeniable lover of thrillers. Paralleling the fates of two women – one fleeing a toxic relationship in Guyana in 1980, the other determined to uncover the truth about her past in modern-day Quebec – this breathtaking psychological thriller stands out for its oppressive atmosphere and disturbing characters. In addition to literally bringing the Amazon rainforest to life between her pages, the author skilfully travels between places and times to weave a well-crafted plot. All this reminds us that darkness and its dangers are often self-constructed cages.
Green as hell, Isabelle Grégoire, Quebec America, 272 pages, $26.95.
Far from cliché
Shootings, street gangs, poverty… All you have to do is flip through a few pages of the Montreal Daily to see that Montreal-North doesn’t get a lot of press. However, the image given by Mariano Mazza in this first autobiographical novel is the antithesis of these clichés. It depicts a hospitable and festive place, where perfumes from the four corners of the world mix with the fates of hardy and hardworking exiles. A tribute to his mother and the women who trusted him, this autofiction composed of touching and hilarious fragments reveals the comedian in a more sensitive and vulnerable light, without losing an iota of authenticity. How to love him even more!
North of Montreal, By Mariana Mazza, Quebec America, 208 pages, $19.95.
Contemporary dance on paper
V. Nijinsky, considered by many to be the greatest dancer of all time, certainly changed the face of contemporary dance forever. A child prodigy, he studied from the age of nine with the masters of the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg, before performing on the world’s biggest stages, and then he was broken by schizophrenia. In this comic, Dominique Osuch follows the exceptional career of this great artist through significant and very romantic encounters. Its line, supple, detailed and lively, perfectly transposes the graceful, airy and sensual movements of the dancers. A feast for the eyes.
Nijinsky, the burnt angel, Dominique Osuch, Futuropolis, 264 pages, $55.95.
A new voice to discover
Like many children from the Faubourg à m’lasse, Francis Ouellet grew up lulled by the sound of cars driving through the streets lined with “garnottes”, playing in the garbage and bile surrounded by the river, an imagination raised by robineux with the melodies of sad clowns and fallen saxophonists. IN molasses fantasy, a lucid fresco imbued with magical realism, the novelist gives life to the characters of endearing and disturbing laggards, stuck in a vicious circle of insecurity and indifference. Born with a flowery and visceral pen, the story reveals a promising voice, with the stamp of the greatest storytellers.
fancy molasses, Francis Ouellet, La Mèche, 216 pages, $23.95.
The inspiring story of Farah Alibay
“We are not defined by our successes, but by our strength in the face of failure and our ability to pick ourselves up, learn and move forward,” writes aerospace engineer Farah Alibay in her autobiography. She tells the story of her origin, her journey, the passions that led her to conquer the universe, as well as the numerous challenges of a woman, including racial ones, in a male environment. The crimson-haired Quebecois, who piloted the Mars rover Persevérance, talks about the many difficulties that have come her way, from doubt to failure, including isolation and discrimination. A story of perseverance and passion.
My March Year, Farah Alibay, Éditions de l’Homme, 244 pages, $29.95.
Let’s get back to the basics
As we separate from the land and previous generations, more and more traditional knowledge is lost because it is not passed on and appreciated. In order to recover some of that knowledge, journalist Eugénie Émond went to meet the elderly, the possible holders of the key to a healthier and more environmentally friendly world. In this beautiful book, she brings together 20 unforgettable portraits: men and women from Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes, who share their secrets on how to sharpen a knife, design a quilt, bind wood or predict the weather. Sublimated with magnificent photos, this beautiful object makes you want to slow down, to look at the trees for a moment, to smell the warm bread, to taste the fruits of a job well done. It highlights, in fact, the precious and necessary gift of transmission.
Know-how – Stories, tools and wisdom of our grandparents, Eugénie Émond, Éditions Cardinal and BESIDE, 280 pages, $49.95.
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