A northern Canadian village, one of many remote settlements dotting the Quebec landscape, is in transition. Originally dependent on subsistence farming and logging, supplemented by winter hunting, its economy has gradually changed over the years: first increasingly dependent on guiding southern urbanites on hunting trips; then on providing a habitat for birdwatchers, nature tourists and collectors of antiques and local crafts; now primarily dependent on income flows from cottagers and retirees.
Each of these remarkably engaging stories is recounted by different narrators from the village’s diverse genders, social classes and employment and economic circumstances. This is a book of parentheses, which, like the spokes of a wheel or the sweep of the lines on a radar screen, gradually and collectively begin to delineate and define the eerie contemporary landscape of The Hunting Ground. Now devoid of any sense of a cohesive community or shared culture, each of these uncanny fragments of alienated and fragmented civilization and imagination is bracketed on the one hand by the passive and vacuous sentimentality of Reader’s Digest and television, and on the other by the senseless primal fury of killing and destruction. It is a clever and unsettling mockery of the many privately printed ?local histories” of small towns, feeding only the yearning nostalgia of the few surviving original inhabitants; the tourist trade vainly promoted by the local town council; and the ethnographic interest of urban professionals researching and catalogueuing endangered species.
Award-winning writer Lise Tremblay is one of Quebec’s most prominent novelists. Her first novel, L’hiver de pluie, was published by XYZ Éditeur in 1990 and won the Prix Découverte du Salon du livre du Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean and the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize. Following this promising debut, Tremblay continued to wow critics with her skillful craft, winning the Governor General’s Award for Fiction with her third novel, Mile End.
Gail Scott’s fiction and criticism have appeared in several journals. She is the author of two novels: Main Brides (1993) and Heroine (1987); Spare Parts, a collection of short stories; and Spaces Like Stairs, a collection of essays. Most recently, she translated Lise Tremblay’s Mile End (La danse juive, Lemeac, 1999). She lives in Montréal.
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.
“[Lise Tremblay presents] a fictional world in a precise lucid language of a simple, graceful fluidity. A world in which the spirit of being is laid bare.”
— Le Devoir
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