The Tin Flute

Gabrielle Roy, translated by Alan Brown

The Tin Flute

Gabrielle Roy's classic novel follows a family living in the slums of Montreal as they struggle to overcome their poverty and attempt to find love. First published in 1945, The Tin Flute was Roy's first novel and immediately established her as a major Canadian voice.

It won both the Governor General's Award for fiction and France's Prix Femina award.



Toward noon, Florentine had taken to watching out for the young man who, yesterday, while seeming to joke around, had let her know he found her pretty. The fever of the bazaar rose in her blood, a kind of jangled nervousness mingled with the vague feeling that one day in this teeming store things would come to a halt and her life would find its goal. It never occurred to her to think she could meet her destiny anywhere but here, in the overpowering smell of caramel, before the great mirrors hung on the wall with their narrow strips of gummed paper announcing the day's menu, to the summary clacking of the cash register, the very voice of her impatience. Everything in the place summed up for her the hasty, hectic poverty of her whole life here in St. Henri.

From: The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy, translated by Alan Brown. Copyright © Gabrielle Roy, 1945. Translation Copyright © Allan Brown, 1980. Published by New Canadian Library.

Gabrielle Roy on researching for The Tin Flute:

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CBC Books 100: Bonus 10