If You Liked x, Read Y: Geriatric French Canadian Edition
November 8, 2016
We loved reading Jocelyne Saucier's poignant reflection on aging, love, and self-determination in And the Birds Rained Down (Coach House Books) when it was a finalist in Canada Reads last year. We humbly present it's perfect follow-up: the tragicomic, multi-storylined
I Am a Truck by Michelle Winters (Invisible Publishing).
If 2015 Canada Reads finalist And the Birds Rained Down captivated you with its poetic story of outsiders living out their golden years on their own terms, you won't want to miss I Am a Truck. Michelle Winters' debut novel begins with a mystery, too: Agathe's husband of X years, Rejean, disappears without a trace the day before their anniversary. In his absence, Agathe begins to come into her own—befriending her new coworker Debbie and embracing rock-and-roll music, while trying to come to terms with the fact that her husband is really gone. The book rotates through three points of view—Agathe's, Rejean's, and that of Chevy salesman Martin Bureau—to piece together a tale of unexpected new beginnings and discovering personal truths that is humorous and heartfelt.
Both books use rural Canadian settings to strong effect: Birds is set in northern Ontario while I Am a Truck takes place in rural New Brunswick, strong Francophone areas in predominantly English-speaking provinces. French-Canadian influences are also present in both books; while Birds is a translation, Truck incorporates French dialogue. These landscapes and language barriers create a real sense of isolation.
But if Birds is about waxing love, I Am a Truck is about waning love, an almost-comic meditation on how we choose our partnerships, both romantic and platonic, and how those relationships—even the most constant ones—slip and shift as we age. What both books offer readers, though, is the message that freedom and happiness come from following your heart.
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Thanks so much to Leigh at Invisible for sharing the connections between these two incredible books. For more literary comparisons, click here.
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