First Fiction Friday: The Fifth: A Love(s) Story

February 5, 2021

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.

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What: The Fifth, translated by Monica Meneghetti (Caitlin Press)


BoisvertMP-vertical-credit Groupe d'édition La Courte Échelle

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 CavaleLe 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.


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The Fifth is like a non-monogamous version of The L Word: Generation Q set in the apartment on Friends.




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Thank you to Caitlin Press and MP Boisvert for joining us in this edition of First Fiction Friday!




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