Anne Hébert, translated by Norman Shapiro


Elisabeth d'Aulnières is living in rural Quebec in the 1800s. She's married to the squire of Kamouraska, but she's in love with an American doctor. Based on the true story of a 19th-century love triangle, Kamouraska is a timeless story of passion and one woman's commitment to true love -- at all costs.

Kamouraska is a classic of Canadian literature and has been translated into five languages. It won France's Prix de librairies in 1970.



"Her husband was going to die, and she felt a great calm. He was just slipping away, ever so gently, hardly suffering at all, and with such admirable good taste. And Madame Rolland waited, dutiful and above reproach. If she felt a pang in her heart from time to time, it was only that now and again this waiting seemed about to assume distressing proportions. That peaceful sense of being free, ready for anything -- that feeling that surged through her, down to her very fingertips -- couldn't bode any good. Everything seemed bent on taking place as if it would soon be clear, past all the waiting, just what her real expectation meant. Somewhere beyond the death of that man who had been her husband for almost eighteen years. But even now grief was working its protective defenses. She clutched at it, hanging onto it like a railing. Anything was better than that awful calm. I should have left Quebec. Gone away from here."

This excerpt is taken from Kamouraska, copyright ©2012 by Anne Hébert, translated by Norman Shapiro, introduction copyright ©2012 by Noah Richler. Reproduced with permission from House of Anansi Press, Toronto. www.houseofanansi.com