In 1920s Montreal, 75 parishoners die one terrible night at the hands of an arsonist. Among the survivors are Remouald, whose nightmarish, repressed childhood memories cause him constant turmoil; Séraphon, his invalid father who holds a self-destructive secret; and schoolteacher Clémentine Clément, who obsesses in solitude over past tragedies, unrequited passions, and the grim suspicion that something is woefully amiss with a group of young boys in her class. Gaétan Soucy applies his trademark vivid language, bracing wit, and fearless insight to this compelling story of horror and hope.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The novel, set in Montreal in the 1920s, starts with an arson fire in a pub, and revolves around Remouald and his father, Seraphon, and other people who find themselves connected to the burnt out shell. When it¿s done, it appears to be a scathingly critical view of the Catholic religion and how trying to live religiously to its principles leads to sexual repression and fairly awful outcomes.There were things about this novel that were brilliant. I loved the fresh, cliché free and hilarious style, with striking metaphors, and the characters that were incredibly well drawn, quirky and bordering on grotesque. Then, there were things that were not completely to my satisfaction. There were loose ends in the narration and exaggerated, unnecessary gruesomeness. It failed to enthrall me, but I saw sparkles of genius on the way.
This book was one of the most profound books I have ever read. A book that makes you ponder on your past and present and your future. A book that makes you reflect upon oneself. Perverse and yet compelling. It is a fast read, where you can't put the book down. What is most expected is not at all! The book is well written and very well translated. It is an excellant book!