5 Incredible Books About Montreal You Need to Read.

This will be a bilingual selection…so work on your French, ‘pis apprenez votre Anglais! (Ps : a good way to fuck up your spellcheck program is to write something dans les deux langues)

 

1- Mordecai Richler : The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

My favourite (and probably best) Montreal author working his magic with flawless satire, morally questionable characters and a sense of setting that is unparalleled in Canadian literature.

 

duddy

2- Marie-Sissi Labrèche – Borderline

On m’a fait lire Borderline au Cegep. J’ai adoré. Un style rough sorti du Centre-Sud (de l’époque) et, surtout, une forme littéraire appelée “auto-fiction” qui m’a tout de suite plu (l’auteur et le personnage principal partagent le même nom mais la vie du personnage est amplifié, modifiée et le fun c’est de jamais dire ce qui est vrai de ce qui est inventé.

border

3- David Fennario – Balconville.

Un texte parfaitement bilingue straight out of Pointe-Saint-Charles. Le premier livre bilingue au Canada. Un livre tout ce qui a de plus Montréalais, pour ne pas dire québécois : le quotidien de quatre voisins ouvriés, sans-emplois, femme au foyer… Mixing both languages in a way that has been deemed, “Montréal plus vrai que vrai.” I still hope one day I manage to “pull a Fennario” as I like to say.

balcon

4- Charles Harrison – Generals Die in Bed

One of Canada’s great (most likely) unknown war novel. It’s style is dry, straight forward and rooted in more of a “raconteur” style. Like Hemingway and others of the so called “silent generation”, Harrison didn’t speak (or in this case, write) invain. Even if the novel is short, every word count and it will hit you right in the guts. The opening scene is still one of the best depiction of WWI era-Montreal I have yet read.

generals

5 – Michel Tremblay – Hosanna

Perhaps because it dealt with being gay at a time when it was still very hard to be, even in Canada. Maybe because my uncle was gay and was taken away too soon in the 90’s wave of AIDS victims. On me l’a fait lire aussi au Cegep. J’ai adoré autant que Borderline (quand j’y pense, ma prof de littérature aimait les livres rough)

Hosanna rang a bell with me. It’s raw emotion, flawless (minimalistic) setting and the first play I ever read by Tremblay.

hosanna

 

Merci. Thank you.

 

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