By Céline Huyghebaert
Translated by Aleshia Jensen
Remnants is an exploration of our relationships with family and perception, told through a profound investigation of a father's life and sudden death. Employing various voices and hybrid forms—including dialogues, questionnaires, photographs, and dream documentation—Huyghebaert ... Read more
Remnants is an exploration of our relationships with family and perception, told through a profound investigation of a father's life and sudden death. Employing various voices and hybrid forms—including dialogues, questionnaires, photographs, and dream documentation—Huyghebaert builds a fragmented picture of a father-daughter relationship that has been shaped by silences and missed opportunities.
The reader attempts to untangle fact from fiction: multiple versions of Huyghebaert's father are presented while remnants of his life disappear achingly quickly. What is left of someone who was not important enough to be archived? How do we talk about what no longer exists?
Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction, Remnants asks essential questions we often only peer at from the corner of an eye; questions about the value of life in its duration and passing. This is a transcendent work, ideal for readers of Annie Ernaux, Sophie Calle, and Maggie Nelson.
Céline Huyghebaert is an artist and a writer. Her work, at the intersection of visual arts, language and literature, has been exhibited in France and Canada. In 2019, she won the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language Fiction for her first novel, Le drap blanc, published by Le Quartanier, and she was awarded the Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art. Born in France in 1978, she has been living in Montréal since 2002.
"Utilizing a wide array of strategies both literary and personal, Céline Huyghebaert's Remnants (here translated beautifully by Aleshia Jensen) delves into deeply human questions—what it means to be both a father and a daughter, the many ways the past is always with us, and how the ache of being continuously haunted by our own complex histories makes us fuller—with an inventiveness of new methods for both confronting and understanding them. " —Jacob Wren, author of Rich and Poor
"Le drap blanc is a mausoleum. .. built from fragments and miscellaneous moments. Words and actions that could have been different, smells, dreams and daydreams; retellings and family dialogues recounted as though in shadow play—she has collected it all here. .. Céline Huyghebaert brings us a book that leaves a striking, lasting impression. " —Xavier Houssin, Le Monde des Livres (Le Monde, France)