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Tayt HarlinSylvain Trudel's acid novel Mercury Under My Tongue, tartly translated from the French by Sheila Fischman, is a tale told by a 16-year-old named Frederic Langlois who is dying of bone cancer in a Montreal hospital. By turns terrified and embittered, Frederic pours forth his thoughts on what he conceives of as his physical, moral and spiritual degeneration with an articulateness that belies his age. Fortunately, unlike the precocious child narrators that populate so much fiction, there isn't a whiff of gee-whiz wonderment or innocence about him. He's thoroughly disillusioned…Nevertheless, he is a captivating narrator, reminiscent of the speakers in Thomas Bernhard's work, who also talk a blue streak of self-loathing.
—The New York Times