Quebec Books

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Quebec Books

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Ago 18, 2009, 10:56am

This is a thread for listing and discussing books with a Quebec setting.

Ago 18, 2009, 10:58am

Louise Penny has a wonderful series featuring Detective Armand Gamache that is set in Quebec.

Ago 18, 2009, 2:28pm

An older, award winning book set in Quebec is The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy. It's about a young woman growing up in a poverty-stricken Montreal. It's similar in tone to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but uniquely French-Canadian. It won the Governor General's Award in 1945.

Ago 18, 2009, 5:47pm

That sounds like a good book. I might have to read another Quebec title.

Ago 19, 2009, 5:21pm

Last Night in Montreal was Fabulous! I loved this book. A wonderful debut and an author I will continue to read. Excellent writing. I was very impressed. Her next book sounds equally good but am not sure where it is set.

Ago 21, 2009, 10:05pm

Clamato -- thanks very much! My next book (The Singer's Gun - pub date spring 2010) moves back and forth between Italy and New York.

Ago 25, 2009, 9:44pm

Clamato has good leads on new Canadian writers. Clam, we'll be looking to you for ideas on new books!

Perhaps 'Last Night' will be my Quebec selection!

Editado: Sep 21, 2009, 8:44pm

Giller Prize Long list:
Kim Echlin, The Disappeared; set in Montreal.
Claire Holden Rothman, The Heart Specialist; set at McGill?

Sep 27, 2009, 6:26pm

The Fat Lady Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay is set in Montreal, I believe. I've heard good things, but haven't been able to get my hands on a copy for myself yet.

Dic 12, 2009, 10:00pm

I read Maria Chapdelaine by Louis Hemon in high school and I enjoyed it so much that I think I'll read it again.

Dic 13, 2009, 10:50am

There's a movie made from the book that I remember as being very good. I did see it when I was all of fourteen, so I may be wrong, but I think the cast included a very young Christopher Lambert.

Dic 15, 2009, 2:44pm

Hmmm, I'll have to look for that! Thanks RWG :)

Ago 17, 2010, 9:02pm

This book doesn't actually say it's set in Quebec, but it was originally written in French by a Quebecois author, and somehow it just seems really Quebecois to me: The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches, by Gaetan Soucy. A disturbing, odd, interesting little novel.

Ago 26, 2010, 2:32am

> 5 & 6: I too loved Last Night in Montreal. In the middle of reading it I lent it to a friend and when I got it back I started at the beginning again. The beautiful prose made it worthwhile. I'll be on the lookout for your new book.

Ago 26, 2010, 9:00am

I am flying out to Montreal in 3hrs, and will keep my eyes open for this book! :)

Editado: Ene 9, 2011, 5:46pm

I recently finished Enchanted Summer set in Quebec, by Gabrielle Roy. It is made up of essays, almost like journal entries, each with a nature theme. Just beautiful.

Editado: Ene 9, 2011, 6:06pm

I'm in the midst of reading The Heart Specialist and very much enjoying it. It takes places in Quebec in the late 1800's to the early 1990's . It's based on the true story of a young girl from small town Quebec who attempts to get into McGill to become a doctor. Fascinating reading.

Editado: Ene 18, 2011, 3:27am

I just listened to Lullabies for Little Criminals, by Heather O'Neill on my iPod. I loved this book, although I have to think about the ending a bit more. It's set in the down-and-low world of Montreal, although enough of the names were familiar to me, and I've only spent 3 days as a tourist there. Highly recommended, but not for everyone (despite the book winning Canada Reads 2007).

Ene 18, 2011, 11:59am

I really liked LFLC too. I kind of felt like maybe I shouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did because of the difficult subject matter. O'Neill is an awesome writer.

Mar 11, 2011, 5:59am

I really loved Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers. A wonderful book that takes place in France, and then in Quebec in the 1600's. Highly recommended!

Mar 11, 2011, 6:11am

I have not long ago read a wonderful book by Canadian writer Alister MacLeod "No Great Mischief", it is a wonderful Canadian setting, with lots of history among the fiction.

Sep 22, 2012, 3:23pm

I just started reading How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired by Dany Laferriere. I didn't realize when I bought it that it takes place in Montreal, but it does - so it counts for this challenge. I can't say much about it yet except so far so good.

Nov 20, 2013, 2:56am

Just finished Ru, by Kim Thuy. I definitely recommend it for a Quebec read, and it's 141 pages, and many of them are short pages at that.

Nov 20, 2013, 3:04pm

The most memorable Canadian short story for me was The Painted Door by Sinclair Ross. This was in a very old copy of a collection of Canadian Short Stories.

Feb 2, 2014, 3:45am

The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler was shortlisted for the Giller and is set in Montreal just after the end of WWII.

Editado: Feb 2, 2014, 10:43am

We can't have a list of Quebec based books without The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler. Such a great character!

Also set in Montreal, I read Cockroach by Rawi Hage. It's a Canada Reads nominee this year.

I'm remembering a couple more but can't remember titles. I'll be back.

Nikolski by Nicholas Dickner
You Comma Idiot by Doug Harris

Feb 3, 2014, 9:18pm

I'm just about finished the audio of Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. She's not Canadian, but I hadn't realized until I started reading this one that it's set in Quebec! I will add my review here once I finish (possibly tomorrow).

Feb 4, 2014, 10:01am

I enjoyed Shadows on the Rock, a historical novel by Willa Cather about New France, set in Quebec City.

Feb 4, 2014, 11:26pm

Deja Dead / Kathy Reichs
4 stars

This is the first book in the Temperance Brennan series. Tempe is a forensic anthropologist working in Quebec. When she is called in to examine some bones, she seems to think there is a serial killer out there, but the police don't agree. She tries to find links so she can convince them she is on the right track. In the meantime, she has an anthropologist friend working with prostitutes who she is quite worried about.

I really liked this! I was a little surprised at how short it was, but it was still really good. There are so many books in the series, but I will keep going. I actually quite enjoyed the narrator of the audio, as well.

Nov 1, 2016, 11:24pm

Bride of New France / Suzanne Desrochers
3.5 stars

It’s the mid-1600s. Laure grew up in a hospital in Paris that housed orphans. When some of the girls are chosen to be sent to New France (Canada) to become wives for the many men who are already there, Laure is one who is chosen to go. The girls have heard horror stories about New France, including about the “savages” and don’t know what to expect.

I enjoyed this. I listened to the audio, and the narrator spoke very slowly, but I only noticed that once in a while. I suppose it did also help with the few French words that were thrown in. The plot itself doesn’t move quickly and it took me a little bit of time at the start to get interested, but once I was interested, I did enjoy it. It was interesting to learn about the colonization of French Canada hundreds of years ago, and for me, it’s always more interesting through the eyes of a woman.

Ene 20, 2017, 11:46pm

Bone and Bread / Saleema Nawaz
3.5 stars

Beena and Sadhana have an East Indian father and a white mother. They were raised in Montreal, Quebec. Sadhana is two years younger than Beena. Their father died when they were young and their mother when they were teenagers; they are then in the custody of their uncle, who runs the bagel shop (originally owned by their father) downstairs. As they grow up, they each run into teen girl problems (serious ones, not small ones), which I won’t mention, as they aren’t revealed until later in the book (though the blurb does reveal them, as do some tags).

The book is told by Beena in the “present day”, just after Sadhana has died. Sadhana lived alone and was not discovered for a week. Beena has to go clean up the apartment, and brings along her teenage son to help. The book goes back and forth between present day and Beena’s memories of she and her sister growing up.

It started off slow for me, but it did get better. I didn’t always like Beena and the decisions she made, but I could say the same of Sadhana. I don’t have a sister, but it seems that it was likely a good portrayal of sisters. There really was a Canadian flavour to the book, as well, with a look at some of the politics in Quebec.

Abr 18, 2018, 9:28pm

The Unquiet Past / Kelley Armstrong
4 stars

This is one of 7 books in the “Secrets” series, all written by different authors. The premise behind the series, as a whole, is that, in 1964, an orphanage in Ontario has burnt down. The oldest kids are sent off on their own with only a small piece of info given to each of them about their past.

In this one, Tess is given only a phone number (but it’s out of service) and an address in a town in Quebec. The address leads to a large abandoned house. Tess has visions, and has never told anyone other than her very best friend about them. She gets an eerie feeling in this house. What happened here and what is Tess’ connection to the place?

I really liked this. I loved the super-creepy feeling at one point in the story. Wow, this author was very good with creating that creepy atmosphere! This is the second book I’ve read in this series, and I do plan to continue on.

Jul 5, 2018, 5:09pm

Surfacing / Margaret Atwood
4 stars
This book takes place in a remote area of Quebec to which the protagonist travels in order to find out what happened to her father. The family used to live on an island for the summers and the father has been living there year round but has recently disappeared. A French-Canadian neighbour wrote to the protagonist so she journeyed there from Toronto (presumably) with three friends. There is some mention of francophone identity and native spirituality and lifestyle also forms a significant part of the story. However, the natural surroundings are the main theme. It is a little strange at times but after I finished I found I appreciated it more.

Ene 26, 2019, 4:57pm

The Lonely Hearts Hotel / Heather O'Neill
2.5 stars

Rose and Pierrot grew up at the same orphanage in Montreal, where they performed for rich people to raise money, once Pierrot’s piano-playing talent and Rose’s dancing talent was discovered. While at the orphanage, despite abuse at the hands of the nuns, they fall in love. As they grow older, however, they are separated and spend their lives trying to dig their way out of poverty and pining for each other.

Not a fan. I listened to the audio and the narrator was good, but it wasn’t enough. I thought, at the start, I was going to like it, but it didn’t turn out that way. I didn’t like any of the characters, and I didn’t care about what happened to them (except when they were young and still at the orphanage). Disappointing, especially since I really liked “Lullabies for Little Criminals” by this author.

Ene 26, 2019, 4:58pm

>33 gypsysmom: Nice to see you liked that one. Have to admit, it's one by Atwood that I just wasn't crazy about. Now, it's been so long since I read it (10-15 years ago?), that I really don't recall much about it.

Mar 2, 2020, 4:15pm

I just finished up Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler and I really liked it. Yes, Barney Panofsky is an alcoholic and an at times awful husband but that is leavened by his generosity and his friendship and his enduring love for his third wife and his children. Apparently Barney's story is pretty much autobiographical so I'm sure Mordecai Richler would have been infuriating but also fascinating. And as it is the story of Barney's life looking back from the year 1995 which was when the Quebec Independance Referendum took place it has a historical appeal as well.