Fanie Demeule

Anita Anand

March 2020

Told with startling, unapologetic honesty and in a haunting, minimalist style, Lightness is the story of a woman's profound sense of alienation, beginning with her own physical body and its desires. In this original and moving take on anorexia, we go deep into the mind of the narrator as she carries out her secret, prolonged hunger strike against the constraints of her life.

The original French version of Lightness (Déterrer les os) won the Best First Novel Prize at the Biennale littéraire des Cèdres in 2018 and was adapted for stage at the Centre du Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui in Montreal.

"At only 26, Fanie Demeule's sharp pen has crafted a shocking first novel." 

BRONZE for the First Fiction Miramichi Very Best Book Award

FANIE DEMEULE is working on a doctorate at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where she now teaches. Her second novel, Roux clair naturel (Hamac, 2019) was published to much acclaim. With Lightness, she appears in English for the first time. She lives in Montreal.

ANITA ANAND is an author, translator and language teacher from Montreal. She is the winner of the 2015 QWF-Concordia First Book Prize for Swing in the House and Other Stories. Her translation of Nirliit, by Juliana L/veill/-Trudel waas nominated for the 2018 John Glassco Prize. She is currently working on a novel.

$16.95 | ISBN: 9781773900520

$ 9.95 | ISBN: 9781773900537

$ 9.95 | ISBN: 9781773900544

$ 9.95 | ISBN: 9781773900551

Format: Trade paper

Size: 8.5 x 5.5 in.

Pages: 85

What they say
All Lit Up: Writer's Block
All Lit Up

We talk with Montreal-based author Fanie Demeule of the haunting, minimalist novel Lightness — which won the Best First Novel Prize in French and has since been translated into English by Anita Anand — about the opposite of writer's block, her influences, and how her writing rituals mirror what she writes.

All Lit Up: Which writers have influenced you or had the most impact on your own writing?
Fanie Demeule: Sylvia Plath, Annie Ernaux, Nelly Arcan, Ying Chen, Karoline Georges, Claire Legendre, Amélie Nothomb, Geneviève Brisac, Toni Morrison, among others. 

ALU: What do you enjoy reading?
FD: Autofictions, memoirs, short stories, screenplays, essays, fantasy and horror novels, history books, tarot cards. I’m also very curious about interviews with artists.

ALU: What’s one book you always recommend?
FD: Beloved by Toni Morrison

Read more.
March 2020, All Lit Up

An Airy Tale
Anya Leibovitch, Montreal Review of Books

The unnamed narrator of Fanie Demeule’s Lightness is only one and a half years old when she has her first memorable experience of grief. She describes a visit to a seaside amusement park with her parents, where she becomes entranced with the merry-go-round. Eventually the park closes, and she is forced to leave. The narrator recounts, “Somewhere in my brain, one zone turns off, and another lights up. I understand that everything has to end, and that this is just the way things are in the natural scheme of things. I was born and I died on a wooden pony.”
Read more.
March 2020, The Montreal Review of Books

"A gut-punching novel of untamed veracity"
James Fisher, Miramichi Reader

Lightness is a gut-punching novel of untamed veracity as to the depths of infatuation that a misperception of body image can take one. It is a disease that exalts bones over fat, sees food as poison and marginalizes the victim as family and friends withdraw from the walking skeletal remains of one they used to love and enjoy being with. It affects all aspects of life and Ms. Demeule conveys this message clearly and unequivocally in Lightness

I am putting Lightness on “The Very Best!” Book Awards 2020 longlist for Best First Book (Fiction).

March 2020, The Miramichi Reader

From the French press

“At only 26, Demeule's sharp pen has crafted a shocking first novel. Masterfully chronicling the negative effects of ordinary life on the unnamed narrator, she exposes the ravages and scars left on the body by society and family.”
 — Chatelaine

“A knock-out punch about self-loathing and its devastating effects. Demeule succeeds, in under a hundred pages, at making the descent into anorexia a believable hell. By deftly avoiding pathos and self-pity, Lightness offers a refreshing insight into mental disorders and the accompanying psychological distress. A first novel that will leave no one indifferent. Demeule is an author to watch.”
 Les libraires

“The language may be familiar but Fanie Demeule injects a great literary force that insists we give voice to the troubles inhabiting the bodies of women. Demeule writes from a place of astonishing strength.”
— Gabrielle Doré, Le fil rouge

“I am transfixed by this masterpiece of accuracy and honesty. Remember her name. I am convinced we will read it again.”
— Martine Levesque


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