First aired on C'est la vie (04/10/11)
Seeing Bryan Perro for the first time is like stepping into one of his best-selling fantasy novels. He's a big bear of a man with huge hands, nearly shoulder-length black hair and a healthy beard — a bit like Hagrid from the Harry Potter series.
It's a particularly apt comparison because Perro is often described as Quebec's J.K. Rowling. His YA fantasy series has sold around 1.5 million copies in that province alone, has been translated into 19 languages and is available in 25 countries. If you're an English-speaking Canadian, however, you might have no idea who he is.
Thankfully, that may change soon. The first book in his 12-novel series, Amos Daragon: The Mask Wearer, is finally available in English in Canada, close to eight years after the original French version appeared in Quebec — and only after being translated by an American publisher first.
"I think in this country, we unfortunately have a cultural Berlin Wall," Perro told the CBC.
It works both ways: Perro says he has trouble finding French translations of Canadian authors who write in English — authors like Kenneth Oppel.
With authors like Perro poised to find success in both markets, it's a hopeful sign that this wall is starting to crumble.
Bryan Perro on Amos Daragon:
"Among the world's most ancient legends exists the story of masks endowed with great power. These masks, priceless and known to bear the sacred magic of the elements, were given to a few human beings who possessed tremendous courage and spirit.
"There were four masks, one each for earth, air, water and fire, as well as sixteen stones from which the masks drew their extraordinary strength. In the eternal fight between good and evil, between day and night, between the gods of the positive and negative worlds, the task of these chosen humans was to restore the balance between these forces.
"Amos Daragon, son of Urban and Frilla Deragon, was one of those selected to accomplish this mission. From the day of his birth, his destiny was foretold by the Lady in White who wrote it down in gold letters in the History of Heroes.
As supreme goddess of the world, she was patiently waiting for the day Amos would realize his potential...."
- From Amos Daragon: The Mask Wearer by Bryan Perro