The love triangle trope is a cliché for the past with the arrival of MP Boisvert's debut novel
The Fifth: A Love(s) Story, translated by Monica Meneghetti (Caitlin Press), which introduces some contemporary flare into romantic storytelling with a love pentagon worth all of your readerly attention. Dynamic, complicated, loving relationships unfold under the roof of one Québec apartment with an intimacy between its inhabitants so close it'll feel like you're part of the Family.
What:The Fifth, translated by Monica Meneghetti (Caitlin Press)
Who: With a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Sherbrooke, MP Boisvert is interested in the representation of polyamory in Quebec literature and issues of sexual diversity. MP Boisvert was Executive Director of the Quebec LGBT Council (2015–2020) and consultant for various Quebec and Canadian ministries on issues of sexual and gender diversity. She is the co-founder of Fière la fête !, Sherbrooke’s Pride (QC)
Boisvert’s contributions to Zodiaque (La Mèche, 2019), QuébeQueer (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2020), the academic journals Cavale, Le Pied and Caractère, as well as columns and articles on the blog “Littéraires après tout” and on the Fugues website, testify to a lively, daring and unique writing.
Her first novel, Au 5e, was published in French by Éditions La Mèche in 2017, and will be published in English, translated by Monica Meneghetti, by Caitlin Press as The Fifth: A Love(s) Story.
Photo credit: Groupe d'édition La Courte Échelle
Why you need to read this
The love triangle trope is so overused in contemporary fiction that it seems nearly impossible to find a romantic love story without a hint of the cliché. So when a novel comes along that tells a love story about not just a triangle, but a love pentagon (or ‘polycule’ in non-monogamous lingo), you should sit up and take notice. The Fifth: A Love(s) Story, written by MP Boisvert and translated from French by Monica Meneghetti, tackles an often taboo topic with humour, candor, and a certain je ne sais quois style.
Alice, Gayle, Camille and Simon live together in a polyamorous relationship, affectionately referred to as the Family. Camille, a trans woman, and Gayle are lovers; Simon is in a relationship with Alice; and Alice is in a relationship with everyone. But when Alice invites her seemingly straight ex-boyfriend Eloy to move into their Sherbrooke, Quebec apartment—albeit temporarily—the Family’s dynamic begins to change in unexpected ways.
With chapters narrated by each Family member interspersed with script-like conversations, the character’s intimate lives are uncovered over the course of a year. They are more than just roommates with benefits; Alice, Gayle, Camille, Simon, and Eloy are eclectic and refreshing characters navigating love, life, and desire among their chosen partners. And rather than reduce their personalities down to plot lines of infidelity or possessiveness, Boisvert gives us a fully rounded cast of characters in a complicated yet loving non-traditional relationship. It’s easy to become invested in the Family and you will root for their non-traditional vision of love and chosen family.
X + Y
The Fifth is like a non-monogamous version of The L Word: Generation Q set in the apartment on Friends.
All Lit Up is produced by the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo. LPG and LitDistCo acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.
All views expressed by bloggers and contributors to the All Lit Up blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of All Lit Up or the Literary Press Group.
All Lit Up acknowledges we are hosted on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat. We also recognize the enduring presence of all First Nations, Métis and the Inuit people, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to meet and work on this territory.