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THE FUTURE shortlisted for CANADA READS 2024!

We’re thrilled to share that this morning, CBC announced the shortlist for Canada Reads 2024. The Future by Catherine Leroux (translated by Susan Ouriou) which was published by Biblioasis on September 5, 2023, will be championed by writer Heather O’Neill. The live debates will take place from March 4th to 7th, 2024. The theme of this year’s competition is hope. We are living in challenging times, and CBC Books has curated a list of books about, “finding the resilience and the hope needed to carry on and keep moving forward.”

Champion Heather O’Neill says The Future is an accomplished novel portraying,

“A dystopian world of feral children and corruption. Leroux describes it in an eerily beautiful and absolutely unique voice.”

Both Catherine Leroux and Heather O’Neill are natives of Montreal. In a Toronto Star feature story published today, Steven Beattie spoke to Leroux about her novel and to O’Neill about selecting The Future:

“As far as that rubric goes, Leroux’s book seems like a natural fit. With its overlapping themes of ecological decay, motherhood, childhood, and societal discord, The Future seemed to offer O’Neill a rich trove of subject matter to address—a significant consideration when she was musing about what book she wanted to champion. ‘You have to find a book that you can dig into and discuss for an entire week,’ O’Neill says. ‘There are just so many elements in The Future to talk about. I thought, this is going to be really fun.'”

Biblioasis publisher Dan Wells says,

“We’re so pleased for Catherine, and grateful to Heather O’Neill for her enthusiasm for The Future! It’s a book for this moment: in a world that too often seems dystopic, it asks what comes after, where we’ll find our communities, pointing to ways we can live better together. We’re thankful as well to the CBC Books team, and that this program will bring so many new readers to Catherine’s wonderful work.”

This is the second of Biblioasis’ books to be nominated for CBC’s Canada Reads. The Dishwasher by Stéphane Larue (translated by Pablo Strauss) was nominated in 2020. Biblioasis is a literary press based in Windsor, Ontario. Since 2004 we have published the best in contemporary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and literature in translation.

CBC’s Canada Reads premiered in 2002. The great Canadian book debate has been airing annually for more than twenty years and aims to select a winning book that all Canadians should read. Ali Hassan will host the 23rd competition, in which a panel of five celebrity advocates will champion Canadian books. Each day of the competition, one book will be eliminated by the panelists until a winner is declared the must-read book for Canadians in 2024. More information on the program and the selected titles is available at cbcbooks.ca.

Order your copy of The Future here!

ABOUT THE FUTURE

Shortlisted for Canada Reads 2024 • One of Tor.com’s Can’t Miss Speculative Fiction for Fall 2023 • Listed in CBC Books Fiction to Read in Fall 2023 • One of Kirkus Reviews‘ Fall 2023 Big Books By Small Presses • A Kirkus Review Work of Translated Fiction To Read Now • One of CBC Books Best Books of 2023

In an alternate history in which the French never surrendered Detroit, children protect their own kingdom in the trees.

In an alternate history of Detroit, the Motor City was never surrendered to the US. Its residents deal with pollution, poverty, and the legacy of racism—and strange and magical things are happening: children rule over their own kingdom in the trees and burned houses regenerate themselves. When Gloria arrives looking for answers and her missing granddaughters, at first she finds only a hungry mouse in the derelict home where her daughter was murdered. But the neighbours take pity on her and she turns to their resilience and impressive gardens for sustenance.

Photo Credit: Justine Latour

When a strange intuition sends Gloria into the woods of Parc Rouge, where the city’s orphaned and abandoned children are rumored to have created their own society, she can’t imagine the strength she will find. A richly imagined story of community and a plea for persistence in the face of our uncertain future, The Future is a lyrical testament to the power we hold to protect the people and places we love—together.

ABOUT CATHERINE LEROUX

Catherine Leroux is a Quebec novelist, translator and editor born in 1979. Her novel Le mur mitoyen won the France-Quebec Prize and its English version, The Party Wall, was nominated for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. The Future received the Jacques-Brossard award for speculative fiction and was nominated for the Quebec Booksellers Prize. Catherine also won the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for her translation of Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. Two of her novels are currently being adapted for the screen. She lives in Montreal with her two children.

Photo Credit: Jaz Hart Studio Inc

ABOUT SUSAN OURIOU

Susan Ouriou is an award-winning fiction writer and literary translator with over sixty translations and co-translations of fiction, non-fiction, children’s and young-adult literature to her credit. She has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation for which she has also been shortlisted on five other occasions. Many of her young adult translations have made the IBBY Honor List. She has also published two novels, Damselfish and Nathan, edited the anthologies Beyond Words—Translating the World and Languages of Our Land—Indigenous Poems and Stories from Quebec and contributed a one-act play to the upcoming anthology Many Mothers—Seven Skies. Susan lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Spotlight On: THE PARTY WALL by CATHERINE LEROUX

Summer is ending, and autumn is nearly here! For the month of September, our featured pick for the Biblioasis Spotlight Series highlights award-winning Quebec author Catherine Leroux with her English-language debut, The Party Wall (translated by Lazer Lederhendler). Read on for a deeply insightful note from Catherine, and be sure to keep an eye out later this month for an excerpt in our newsletter!

THE PARTY WALL

Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation • Shortlisted for the 2016 Giller Prize • Selected for Indies Introduce Summer/Fall 2016 • Winner of the Prestigious France-Quebec Prize • Nominated for the Quebec Bookseller’s Prize

Catherine Leroux’s The Party Wall shifts between and ties together stories about pairs joined in surprising ways. A woman learns that she may not be the biological mother of her own son despite having given birth to him; a brother and sister unite, as their mother dies, to search for their long-lost father; two young sisters take a detour home, unaware of the tragedy that awaits; and a political couple—when the husband accedes to power in a post-apocalyptic future state—is shaken by the revelation of their own shared, if equally unknown, history.

Lyrical, intelligent, and profound, The Party Wall is luminously human, a surreally unforgettable journey through the barriers that can both separate us and bring us together.

“…an intoxicating blend of the familiar and the uncanny, brilliantly executed … The Party Wall has the narrative force of a Hollywood film, while also offering richly executed portraits of the characters’ interior lives.”—Montreal Review of Books

“… superbly crafted … Leroux skillfully reveals the inner worlds of her achingly human characters and the intricate bonds that connect them to each other. Images from this beautiful and moving book will haunt readers.”—Publishers Weekly

Catherine Leroux was born in 1979 in the Northern suburbs of Montreal. Her first novel, Marche en forêt, was published in 2011 by Éditions Alto. The Party Wall, her English-language debut published with Biblioasis in 2016, was selected for Indies Introduce for Summer/Fall, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and won the Governor General’s Award for Translation. Her subsequent novels, Madame Victoria and L’avenir were shortlisted and won various awards. Catherine lives in Montreal where she devotes her time between writing, translation and editorial work.

Get your copy of The Party Wall here!

Check out Catherine’s third book, Madame Victoria, here!

 

Photo Credit: Audrée Wilhemy

A WORD FROM CATHERINE LEROUX

Canaries in the Coal Mine

I started writing The Party Wall in 2011. At the time, the book felt slightly hyperbolic, especially the chapters situated in the near future: Canada recovering from years of right-wing, divisive, autocratic government; the Prairies’ soil gone sterile due to droughts; the coasts flooded by torrential rains. Political and racist violence permeating every sphere of life.

More than a decade later, it doesn’t quite seem like an exaggeration anymore. Back then, the effects of climate change were akin to the first subtle, almost unreal symptoms of an illness, while today, they are unescapable in their devastating potency. The turbulence of the world in which Ariel and Marie evolved now seems tame compared to the schizophrenic landscape created by social and political leaders, both abroad and at home.

What are we to make of these stories, that could have been read a decade ago as anticipatory literary attempts to define still-hazy outlines on the horizon, now that these shapes have materialized into our new reality? I believe it’s a matter of shifting one’s perspective. Through the crises, the characters still love and fight and dream and fail. They still come to life regardless of the time in which they are read. Because of that, they remain capable of opening spaces in our minds where we can think and feel our present, where we may hold hope.

I’ve always liked the idea of novelists as canaries in the coal mine. I did wonder what they might do once the gas has filled the tunnel. For now, against all odds, they are still singing.

 

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Biblioasis!

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! We have some great gift ideas for your mom or any mother figures in your life.

For the mom who keeps up with the bestsellers: A Ghost in the Throat

“A powerful, bewitching blend of memoir and literary investigation … Ní Ghríofa is deeply attuned to the gaps, silences and mysteries in women’s lives, and the book reveals, perhaps above all else, how we absorb what we love—a child, a lover, a poem—and how it changes us from the inside out.”—Nina Maclaughlin, New York Times

For the mom who wants a challenge: Ducks, Newburyport

“Lucy Ellmann has written a genre-defying novel, a torrent on modern life, as well as a hymn to loss and grief. Her creativity and sheer obduracy make demands on the reader. But Ellmann’s daring is exhilarating—as are the wit, humanity and survival of her unforgettable narrator.”—2019 Booker Prize Jury Citation

For the mom who attends open mic night: Hail, the Invisible Watchman

“Alexandra Oliver, Canada’s sublime formal poet, grabs centuries-old traditions by the throat and gives them a huge contemporary shaking in Hail, the Invisible Watchman. Terrifyingly clever, dazzlingly skilled, and chillingly accurate in her social observations, she plunges from lyric to narrative and back again in this, her third volume, where a housewife has ‘a waist like a keyhole’ and a ‘good mood’ has a ‘scent’ … With Hail, the Invisible Watchman Oliver again alters the landscape of Canadian poetry.” —Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst

For the mom who loves historical fiction: The Barrøy Chronicles

“A profound interrogation of freedom and fate, as well as a fascinating portrait of a vanished time, written in prose as clear and washed clean as the world after a storm.”The Guardian

For the mom who is everyone’s best friend: The Last Goldfish

“Lahey is a writer of extraordinary gifts, evoking the world of two raucous schoolgirls growing up in the 1980s in astonishing, at times laugh-out-loud funny, detail … Lou couldn’t have asked for a more stalwart, loyal friend than Anita Lahey; we couldn’t ask for a more acutely observant and empathetic writer.”—Moira Farr, author of After Daniel: A Suicide Survivor’s Tale

For the mom who wants to be surprised: Biblioasis Mystery Box

Each box is unique and carefully curated. Tell us some of your favourite books or genres in the notes box, so we can pick books specially for you, or leave it blank for a complete surprise!

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Biblioasis!

THE MUSIC GAME, SAY THIS, CHEMICAL VALLEY, POGUEMAHONE, A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE, ON DECLINE: March Media Medley!

IN THE NEWS!

THE MUSIC GAME

An excerpt of The Music Game (February 8, 2022) by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe, has been published in Literary Hub! The excerpt was published online on February 28, 2022.

Read the full excerpt here.

The Music Game was also featured on the blog, Buried In Print. Read the full article here.

In the post, they write:

“Readers get a clear sense of that fog of youthfulness (where inherently ideas contain dichotomies like ‘clarity’ and ‘confusion’) but also a sense of lived-in and vibrant Montreal (and Ottawa) … It’s not the kind of story that makes you feel like you need to know what happens—because, actually, very little “happens”—but it’s the kind of storytelling that makes me care about the characters’ daily lives and lifelong dreams.”

In celebration of International Women’s Day, CBC Books put together a list of ’22 women writers in Canada you should read in 2022.’ Included on the list is The Music Game by Stéfanie Clermont, trans. by JC Sutcliffe. You can view the full list here.

The Music Game was listed by both Literary Hub and 49th Shelf as recommended reads for March! You can read the full list from Literary Hub here, and the full list from 49th Shelf here.

In her recommendation for Literary Hub, bookseller Kay Wosewick writes:

The Music Game is a delicious sneak peek into Millennial life, one that acknowledges few boundaries, alternates between excess and emptiness, repeatedly taste-tests and spits out adulthood, and ebbs and flows within the surrounding cacophony. Simultaneously exciting and unsettling.

The Music Game was reviewed in the latest issue of the Montreal Review of Books! The review is printed in their Spring 2022 issue and was posted online on March 2, 2022. You can check out the full review here.

In her review, Roxane Hudon writes:

“Clermont is relentless in her writing, and pain seems to await these characters at every corner, but by concluding this way, with everyone together and alive sharing music and stories, she’s showing us that, even for a generation often teetering on the edge, there is beauty, and friendship, and hope.”

The Music Game was reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press! The review was posted online on March 12, 2022. Read the full review here.

In her review, Sara Harms writes:

“Montreal author Stéfanie Clermont’s award-winning debut is a stunning, incisive immersion into a community of young radical activists finding love, experiencing violence, rejecting hegemony, and struggling to survive financially in a world of dead-end jobs.”

The Music Game was also reviewed in The Charlatan, posted online on March 10, 2022. Read the full review from The Charlatan here.

In her review, Melissa White writes:

“Canadian author Stéfanie Clermont delivers in her debut novel, The Music Game, pushing the boundaries of narrative structure through intimate portrayals of young adulthood … Similar to the extremely successful Irish-millennial author Sally Rooney, she portrays the complex feelings and emotions of her characters in simple terms, thus making them feel universal.”

Pick up your copy of The Music Game here!

SAY THIS

Elise Levine, author of Say This (March 1, 2022), was interviewed in The Baltimore Fishbowl. It was published on March 2, 2022. Read the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

BFB: […] Has form always been a central consideration in your writing?

EL: I’ve always understood form and style as elements in service of character. But with Say This I felt greater freedom to formally experiment. Here I was writing a novella— when I’d previously written short stories and novels—and then a second one, so why not take things further? Especially in light of the characters’ experiences with the unsayable, the unanswerable, which called out for me to push hard on the use of fragments and white space as a kind counter-text.

Say This was reviewed in Toronto Star. It was published online on March 11, 2022, and can be read here.

An excerpt from the review:

“Levine repeats the phrase “everything has already happened” in both novellas and the line is key to the book as a whole. It is both the truth and wishful thinking: the crime is done, it’s already happened, this much is true. But for these characters, the crime is never in the past. It is always happening, a constancy of pain and loss that will forever shape their lives.

Say This is a breathtaking, daring exploration of that constancy, of the lingering power of trauma, and the roots and branches of violence and despair.”

Author Elise Levine was also interviewed by PEN America on March 3, 2022. You can find the full interview here.

An excerpt from the interview:

I used fragments as a way of working against the truisms and conventional handlings of narratives surrounding violent crime. By their very nature, fragments embody what is missing; they convey a sense of absence, what remains unvoiced, including hard-to-name desires and the power imbalances that fuel abuse and thrive on the silences surrounding them. The fragments in the book highlight these silences and absences, reflecting how partial, how broken the characters’ understanding might be, and how difficult if not impossible it is for them to access an all-encompassing, consoling truth.

Say This was also named an Editors’ pick for March 2022 by 49th Shelf. You can see the full list here.

Get your copy of Say This here!

POGUEMAHONE

Poguemahone by Patrick McCabe (May 3, 2022) has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly. The review was published online on March 8, 2022, which you can read here. Poguemahone has also been selected as an Indie Next pick for May!

Publishers Weekly writes:

“McCabe draws the reader into a rambling web replete with Gaelic folklore, IRA agitation, and a soundtrack of glam and progressive rock. Lively and ambitious in form, this admirably extends the range of McCabe’s career-long examination of familial and childhood trauma.”

Preorder Poguemahone from Biblioasis here!

A FACTOTUM IN THE BOOK TRADE

A Factotum in the Book Trade by Marius Kociejowski (April 26, 2022) was featured in Hamilton Review of Books as part of “What We’re Reading: Editors’ Picks, Spring 2022.” The article was published online on March 9, 2022. You can read the full list here.

Preorder A Factotum in the Book Trade today here!

CHEMICAL VALLEY

Chemical Valley cover

Chemical Valley by David Huebert (October 19, 2021) was named a semi-finalist for the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature! The announcement was made on March 7, 2022. Congratulations, David!

Chemical Valley also received an excellent review from Kirkus! The review was posted online on February 25, 2022. You can read the full review here.

Kirkus wrote:

“Huebert has a razor-sharp wit and an exacting eye for human foibles … [he] manages to offer intimate portraits of human lives without ever letting readers forget the climate bubbling just outside their windows … A masterful assemblage of environmentally minded tales.”

Order your copy of Chemical Valley here!

 

ON DECLINE

On Decline cover

Andrew Potter, author of On Decline (October 19, 2021) was a guest on the podcast Lean Out with Tara Henley. Host Tara Henley is a former CBC reporter, journalist, and bestselling author. The episode was published online yesterday, March 16, 2022. You can listen to the full episode here.

Pick up your copy of On Decline here!