Bonbons Assortis / Assorted Candies

By Michel Tremblay
Translated by Linda Gaboriau

Bonbons Assortis / Assorted Candies
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Bonbons Assortis / Assorted Candies is Michel Tremblay’s fourth (and he says last) book of autobiographical narratives inspired by his childhood and youth. Like the previous three volumes, which celebrate the books, plays and films that shaped his imagination and writing life, ... Read more


Overview

Bonbons Assortis / Assorted Candies is Michel Tremblay’s fourth (and he says last) book of autobiographical narratives inspired by his childhood and youth. Like the previous three volumes, which celebrate the books, plays and films that shaped his imagination and writing life, this collection of eight delightful stories takes us back to Tremblay’s formative years in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal, offering the reader poignant and joyful childhood memories as varied as the assorted candies his mother hoarded under her bed, to be shared only on the most festive or dramatic of family occasions.

Here we get to see the world through the eyes of young Michel, who is often discovered observing the other nine members of the bustling household on Fabre Street from his hiding place under the dining-room table. His mother, Nana (immortalized in the play For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again), dominates these memories; but the tender, cherished moments shared with his father, along with his prickly paternal grandmother and irascible aunt (who inspired his unforgettable character Albertine), also profoundly shape this child’s view of the world. Neighbours, from whom the family haplessly tries to hide their poverty with dignity, brothers and an uncle (who, telephoning from the local tavern, claims to be Santa calling from the North Pole), complete the rich and colourful cast of characters in this exquisite remembrance of childhood past.

Michel Tremblay

Born in a working-class family in Québec, novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay was raised in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood. An ardent reader from a young age, Tremblay began to write, in hiding, as a teenager. Because of their charismatic originality, their vibrant character portrayals, and the profound vision they embody, Tremblay’s dramatic, literary, and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity; his plays have been adapted and translated into dozens of languages and have achieved huge success throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.

A seven-time recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, during his career Tremblay has received more than seventy-five prizes, citations, and honours, including nine Chalmers Awards and five Prix du grand public, presented during Montreal’s annual book fair, Salon du livre. Tremblay has also received six honorary doctorates.

The French Government, in 1984, honoured Tremblay’s complete body of work when it made him Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres de France; thereafter, in 1991, he was raised to Officer of the Order. In 2008, he was created Chevalier de la légion d’honneur de France. Tremblay was appointed, in 1991, Chevalier de l’ordre national du Québec and was promoted to Grand Officier in 2015. In 1999, he received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. In 2011, he was honoured with the Révolution tranquille medal, given by the Ministry of Culture of Québec, awarded to artists, creators, and artisans who began their careers between 1960 and 1970 and who still have an influence in their field of practice. In total, Tremblay has written twenty-seven plays and twenty-seven novels.

Linda Gaboriau

A major figure in Quebec theatre, MICHEL TREMBLAY has built an impressive body of work as a playwright, novelist, translator, and screenwriter. To date, Michel’s complete works include 29 plays (including 2 theatrical adaptations of his own work); 30 novels; 6 collections of autobiographical stories; a collection of tales; 7 screenplays; 46 translations/adaptations of works by foreign writers; 9 plays and 12 stories printed in diverse publications; an opera libretto; a song cycle; a Symphonic Christmas Tale and 2 musicals. His plays have been published and translated into 40 languages and have garnered critical acclaim in Canada, the United States, and more than 50 countries around the world. His name can be found in the Larousse and Robert Dictionaries, the Who’s Who Encyclopedia, the Dictionary of International Biography and the Encyclopedia Britannica. During his career, Michel has received more than 80 prizes, citations and honours including the Grand Prix de la Francophonie, awarded by the Académie française in 2018, as well as the Prince Pierre de Monaco Literary Prize and the Prix Gilles-Corbeil for his contribution to the arts in 2017. A six-time winner of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, he won nine Chalmers Awards and five Grand Prix du public presented during Montreal’s annual book fair le Salon du livre. In 1999, he was awarded the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. He has also received six honorary doctorates.

Reviews

“Linda Gaboriau elegantly transports the English reader into the bustling world of Michel Tremblay’s childhood. She maintains the narrative simplicity and natural dialogue of his stories, as seen and heard from a child’s point of view. ”
2006 Governor General’s Literary Awards Jury

 

“The idealized memories of childhood told via colourful dialogues mark the charm of … Bonbons Assortis. ”
Canadian Literature

“As indelibly as Mordecai Richler staked a claim to the Jewish Montreal of Mile End, Tremblay’s novels, plays, and autobiographical writings have made working-class French Montreal an archetypal literary setting … Tremblay’s knack for recalling and accessing his boyhood self is uncanny. Assorted Candies is short but sweet. ”
Montreal Review of Books

 

“The best of Tremblay can be found in these Assorted Candies: the unparalleled dialogist, the prodigious portraitist, the attentive memorialist, and above all, the writer who manages to retain the childhood sense of wonder. ”
Voir

“The best of Tremblay can be found in these Assorted Candies: the unparalleled dialogist, the prodigious portraitist, the attentive memorialist, and above all, the writer who manages to retain the childhood sense of wonder. ”
Voir

“It’s vintage Tremblay (out-Prousting Proust), filled with primal privations and inspirations of awe, a family’s love and terrors, the stuff that makes a writer a writer: Family. Church. Lust. Poverty. The whole enthralling works. ”
Globe and Mail

“Michel Tremblay wrote this book with evident pleasure, a contagious one. ”
La Presse

“Linda Gaboriau elegantly transports the English reader into the bustling world of Michel Tremblay’s childhood. She maintains the narrative simplicity and natural dialogue of his stories, as seen and heard from a child’s point of view. ”
– 2006 Governor General’s Literary Awards Jury

“As indelibly as Mordecai Richler staked a claim to the Jewish Montreal of Mile End, Tremblay’s novels, plays, and autobiographical writings have made working-class French Montreal an archetypal literary setting … Tremblay’s knack for recalling and accessing his boyhood self is uncanny. Assorted Candies is short but sweet. ”
Montreal Review of Books

“It’s vintage Tremblay (out-Prousting Proust), filled with primal privations and inspirations of awe, a family’s love and terrors, the stuff that makes a writer a writer: Family. Church. Lust. Poverty. The whole enthralling works. ”
Globe and Mail

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