Surreal and darkly comic, this debut novel by Kevin Lambert, one of the most celebrated and controversial writers to come out of Quebec in recent memory, takes the adult world to task—and then takes revenge.
Faldistoire’s grandfather thinks he’s a ghost. Sylvie’s mother reads tarot and summons stormclouds to mete her witch’s justice. Behind his Dad of the Year demeanour, Sébastien’s father hides dark designs. It’s Croustine’s grandfather who makes the boy a pair of slippers from the dead family dog, but it’s his father, the cannily-named Kevin Lambert, who always seems to be nearby when tragedy strikes, and in the cemetery, under the baleful eyes of toads, small graves are dug one after the other: Chicoutimi, Quebec, is a dangerous place for children. But these young victims of rape, arbitrary violence, and senseless murder keep coming back from the dead. They return to school, explore their sexualities, keep tabs on grown-up sins—and plot their apocalyptic retribution.
Praise for You Will Love What You Have Killed
“Lambert’s is a dark yet poetic vision of a place, ruled by hate and revenge, in which the kids definitely aren’t all right. But his youth in revolt provide a welcome punch to the gut.”—The Walrus
“Uncanny and violent, this novel takes an unflinching look at children’s processing of sexuality, abuse, and misfortune … Lambert’s sheer imagination will appeal to fans of bizarre fiction.”—Publishers Weekly
“Chicoutimi lore and Chicoutimi cruelties gush forth almost biblically in a story about the power of children. Kevin Lambert the writer (not Kevin Lambert the killer) works like a multi-armed puppet master in this addictive, dazzling derailment of a book.”—Tamara Faith Berger, author of Maidenhead and Queen Solomon
“Kevin Lambert takes us on a one-way trip to a hallucinated small town where everybody knows everybody, a place populated by vengeful ghosts trying to heal from childhood wounds … A poetic tale about what’s broken between a community and its youth.”—Stéphane Larue, author of The Dishwasher
“The impact and reach of Lambert’s writing is in part the result of old-fashioned narrative mastery … With each act of violence, the reader is appalled—and appalled at not being surprised—and Lambert deftly has us hooked as the whole wreck painfully unfolds.” —Montreal Review of Books
“This is a novel alive to both the agony and desires of youth, with flashes of evocative violence … The tone skews closer to pitch-black comedy, with a style that at times recalls transgressive authors like Dennis Cooper.”—ZYZZYVA
“A powerful, inventive first novel midway between a memoir and a fantasy novel, funny and violent, unbelievably freewheeling even as it remains under tight control.”—La Presse (Montreal)
“Wildly strange, but also furiously enthralling.”—Le Devoir
“A work whose violent writing will haunt me forever, and for the best.” —Littérature Québéquoise