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Posted May 30, 2012
(LONG-LISTED FOR THE DUBLIN IMPAC AWARD, 2011.)
Winning the 2008 Governor General's Literary Award in its original French, it has recently been translated by Nigel Spencer, who has won two GGs himself for translating other Blais novels. Blais is a legend in Quebec letters with 25 published works of fiction, almost all critically acclaimed.
This translation feels right, from beginning to end...the rhythm essential in the French is present in the English version as well.
One way to approach the novel is to read it aloud, possibly to your partner at bedtime...it sounds fantastic and is loaded with sensual and visceral images. It is jazz, but not smooth jazz. Sometimes it is bebop, sometimes Latin. There is pleasure in the rhythm and poetry of the language.
If you can let go, the sense will come to you.
–Victor Enns, Winnipeg Free Press—Nov. 28, 2009.
. . .
“Let it wash over you,” the man says. “Like body surfing, let the waves take you. Don’t try to touch bottom, and you won’t hit the rocks.” A burly guy with a voice like timber, Nigel Spencer is sitting at my kitchen table, talking into my tape recorder...
--Marianne Ackerman, "How to Read a Masterpiece: Coming to Terms With Marie-Claire Blais" in The Walrus, Sept. 2009.