The Next Chapter

Why Anne Hébert's Kamouraska represents Quebec for Emma Richler

The author of Be My Wolff explains how Anne Hébert's 1970 novel captures the coldness of Quebec and what makes it so powerful.
Emma Richler is the author of two novels, most recently Be My Wolff. (Marzena Pogorzaly)

Emma Richler is an author who has lived on both sides of the Atlantic, growing up in both London, England and Montreal. She has written two books, including 2017's Be My Wolff. Richler thinks that Anne Hébert's Kamouraska is the book that best represents Montreal for her.

When I first left London, I went to Montreal, and it was a great big adventure. It was full of fantastic snow, which I found very romantic and very powerful.

As a schoolgirl I read mostly French and we read Anne Hébert's Kamouraska. For me, that captures this great coldness and sense of isolation and marvel. The two lovers try to empty their minds by lying down in the pine forest so that all there is is the two of them. It's very powerful. It's full of landscape and full of Quebec.

Emma Richler's comments have been edited and condensed.