The Town Below changed the face ofQuébécoisliterature.
The Town Below takes place in St. Joseph Parish of Quebec City’s Saint-Sauveur suburb. Saint-Sauveur is a parochial and provincial place where narrow piety and corruption can be found in every corner, and Denis and Lise, two adolescents in love, scandalize the town with their affair. Scheming politicians and clergymen and grasping social climbers mix with salt-of-the-earth citizens in a rough-and-tumble satiric assault on pre-Quiet Revolution Quebec mores and attitudes.
The Town Below won the Prix David andthe Prix de la langue française. Lemelin was also awarded Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships. A bestseller in Quebec when it originally appeared, The Town Below has been called the "pioneer novel of working-class Quebec" and exploded, with great controversy, the smothering social and religious strictures prevalent among postwar Québécois.The novel was first published in English by Reynal & Hitchcock in 1948.
About the Author
Roger Lemelin (1919-1992) was born in working-class Quebec City. He published eight novels andnumerous short stories and essays and won several awards for his books. In addition to the awards he won for The Town Below , he also adapted his second novel, Les Plouffe , into the popular CBC-TV show The Plouffe Family , which ran from 1953 to 1959.
Michael Gnarowski compiled The Concise Bibliography of English Canadian Literature , and edited the Critical Views of Canadian Writers series for McGraw-Hill Ryerson. Gnarowski is professor emeritus at Carleton University in Ottawa.