Guano

By Louis Carmain
Translated by Rhonda Mullins

Guano
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Bartleby the Scrivener meets Catch-22 in this charmingly sardonic tale of love, war and fertilizer.

WINNER OF THE PRIX DES COLLÃ?GIENS

Simón turned his thoughts to her daily. There were few enough
of them, but each one lingered. He imagined their life together.
Sometimes even ... Read more


Overview

Bartleby the Scrivener meets Catch-22 in this charmingly sardonic tale of love, war and fertilizer.

WINNER OF THE PRIX DES COLLÃ?GIENS

Simón turned his thoughts to her daily. There were few enough
of them, but each one lingered. He imagined their life together.
Sometimes even their children’s lives. Sometimes he set his fantasies in Spain, sometimes America, less often Peru– so many settings, all of which turned into the bedroom, eventually.

It's 1862, and Spain is a little rueful about letting Peru have their independence. Or, more importantly, letting Peru have the guano – 'white gold' – on the Chincha Islands. Simon is the ship's recorder on a scientific – okay, military – expedition when he meets, in Callao, the mysterious Montse. She asks of him only that he write her letters. Which he utterly fails to do. As military tensions escalate, so does Simon's unabated lust for Montse – even if he can't bring himself to do anything about it.

'A novel that makes you want to read long passages out loud – or at least memorize snippets, just for the music of the words of Québec writer Louis Carmain.'

La Presse (translated from the French)

Louis Carmain

Louis Carmain holds an MA in Literary Studies from Laval University. He is now a resident of Gatineau, Quebec, where he works as a civil servant. His first novel, Guano, received the prestigious Prix des Collégiens.

Rhonda Mullins

Rhonda Mullins is a writer and translator living in Montréal. She received the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for Twenty-One Cardinals, her translation of Jocelyne Saucier's Les héritiers de la mine. And the Birds Rained Down, her translation of Jocelyne Saucier’s Il pleuvait des oiseaux, was a CBC Canada Reads Selection. It was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, as were her translations of Élise Turcotte’s Guyana and Hervé Fischer’s The Decline of the Hollywood Empire.

Awards

  • Prix des Collégiens 2014, Winner
  • Governor General’s Award for Translation 2016, Short-listed

Reviews

‘Guano is funny, strange, smart, beautifully written and hugely entertaining, and certainly one of the best Canadian novels of postmodern historical reimagining since Douglas Glover’s Elle.’

—Pasha Malla, The Globe and Mail

'A novel that makes you want to read long passages out loud – or at least memorize snippets, just for the music of the words of Québec writer Louis Carmain.'

La Presse (translated from the French)

Reader Reviews

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