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.

Linda Gaboriau

Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montreal. Her translations of plays by Quebec’s most prominent playwrights have been published and ­produced across Canada and abroad. In her work as a ­literary manager and dramaturge, she has directed ­numerous translation residencies and international exchange projects. She was the founding director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Most recently she won the 2010 Governor General’s Award for Forests, her translation of the play by Wajdi Mouawad.

Awards

  • Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation 2006, Short-listed

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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