The fall season in the Quebec literary world officially
begins with the Leméac launch on Tuesday, and it officially ends with the
closing of the Salon du livre de Montréal
It’s called the rentrée
littéraire, which is a term that cannot be translated exactly, or at least
not elegantly, in a single word. Rentrée
means re-entry, or going back, as in the rentrée scolaire, which is what happened
over the past week, as children went back to school.
Not that we stopped reading over the summer, exactly,
but publishers did stop publishing, more or less, and now they’re back, working
flat out. Book launches here are seldom held for a specific title or author.
Most publishers’ launches are for their entire fall list, all in one fell swoop,
including titles not yet in print.
This is, in short, the busiest time of the year
for literary publishers here, perhaps even more so than elsewhere in Canada –
and elsewhere in the world – since the Quebec industry takes its lead from
France in its single-minded focus on the fall. This is provoking debate among
U.S. publishers weighing the pros and cons of putting so many eggs in a single literary
The result, certainly, is glorious excess, as
booksellers fight their way through what the Montreal daily La Presse describes as an avalanche
of new titles.
there are still literary journalists around whose job it is to down the
reception wines and hobnob with the writers and those who promote them.
happily this fall’s lineup includes another substantial list headlined by some
of the grand old men of Quebec literature. Jacques
Poulin is publishing L’homme de la
Saskatchewan (Leméac), Victor-Lévy
(Trois-Pistoles), the concluding volume in the Beauchemin saga, and Michel Tremblay La grande mêlée (Leméac), the final volumne of Diaspora des Desrosiers.
Younger stars who have been making their names
in recent years include Dominique
Fortier, whose new novel is La porte du ciel (Alto), Élise Turcotte with her first novel in nine years, Guyana (Leméac),
and Hélène Rioux, author of Nuits blanches et jours de gloire (XYZ).
Though fiction gets most of the attention from
the media, this fall’s non-fiction lineup is notable for À toi, a new book by Kim
Thuy co-authored by Pascal Janoviak
(Libre Expression), and La gestion des
produits - tome 1 (Marchand de feuilles) by psychoanalyst Maxime-Olivier Moutier. The magnum opus
of the season is Pierre Nepveu’s Gaston Miron: La vie d’un homme
More on Nepveu’s magisterial biography – and on
dazzling new fiction by Catherine
Mavrikakis and newcomer Perrine
Leblanc in my next post.