Books·Canadian

Kamouraska

Anne Hébert's second novel won France's Prix de librairies in 1970.

Anne Hébert, translated by Norman Shapiro

A classic of Canadian literature by the great Québécois writer, Kamouraska is based on a real nineteenth-century love triangle in rural Quebec. It paints a poetic and terrifying tableau of the life of Elisabeth d'Aulnieres: her marriage to Antoine Tassy, squire of Kamouraska; his violent murder; and her passion for George Nelson, an American doctor. (From House of Anansi)

Kamouraska was translated from French to English by Norman Shapiro and won France's Prix de librairies in 1970.­

From the book

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.


From Kamouraska by Anne Hébert, translated by Norman Shapiro ©2010. Published by House of Anansi.

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