Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins
Kevin lives in 62. His mom took off but it's okay because his dad's a wrestler and he always wins. Even when he gets laid off from his job. Melissa is in 64. She has to look after her siblings because there's a restraining order that means her mom can't be within fifty metres of them. So when Melissa needs to tell her something, she leaves a note on the sidewalk near where her mother is looking for customers. And Roxane, in 61, obsessed with the violin, collects her mom's empties so she can sell them for a snack at the depanneur.
They hear each other through the thin walls. They're all more grown up than they should be for twelve-year-olds, and they're all alone — so alone they don't even try to find solace in one another's company.
Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, author of the acclaimed Suzanne (2019 Canada Reads shortlist, Best Translated Book Award nominee, international bestseller), encountered real-life versions of these kids when she was making her film Le Ring. With her characteristic poetic flair and generosity, she has painted, in brief strokes, an unforgettable and moving portrait of a fictional apartment block in Montreal. (From Coach House Books)
Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette is a novelist, screenwriter and director from Montreal. Her novel Suzanne won the Prix des libraires du Québec and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction. The English version of the novel was defended by Yanic Truesdale on Canada Reads 2019.
Rhonda Mullins is a writer and translator living in Montreal. She won the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English translation for Jocelyne Saucier's Twenty-One Cardinals. She also translated Barbeau-Lavalette's Suzanne and Saucier's And the Birds Rained Down, which was defended on Canada Reads 2015 by Martha Wainwright.
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