Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon

By Nicole Brossard

Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon
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Nominated for a Governor General's Award for Translation

Yesterday, on my way back from the museum: my head is full of images of storms. A boundless sea of paintings and photographs. Other storms I build like a backdrop, with sombre and anonymous characters, impossible to identify. ... Read more


Overview

Nominated for a Governor General's Award for Translation

Yesterday, on my way back from the museum: my head is full of images of storms. A boundless sea of paintings and photographs. Other storms I build like a backdrop, with sombre and anonymous characters, impossible to identify. I remain thus all evening, pressed up against the existence of a storm without feeling threatened. Waiting. After a few momentsI become, I am, the storm, the disruption, the precipitation, the agitation that puts reality in peril.

Carla Carlson is at the Hotel Clarendon in Quebec City trying to finish a novel. Nearby, a woman, preoccupied with sadness and infatuated with her boss, catalogues antiquities at the Museum of Civilization. Every night, the two women meet at the hotel bar and talk – about childhood and parents and landscapes, about time and art, about Descartes and Francis Baconand writing.

When Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon appeared in French (as Hier), the media called it the pinnacle of Brossard’s remarkable forty-year literary career. From its intersection of four women emerges a kind of art installation, a lively read in which life and death and the vertigo of ruins tangle themselves together to say something about history and desire and art.

Hier is a book in which the love of language, authorial anxiety and the generosity of a writer who has dedicated herself to the craft of writing are truly revealed. ’

Le Devoir

‘An explorer of language, Brossard has, for many years, pursued a demanding and unarguably original oeuvre. Hier, her latest book, is a kind of sum or synthesis of her research and her meditations. ’

Lettres Québécoises

Nicole Brossard

Two-time Governor General’s Award winner for her poetry, Nicole Brossard has published more than thirty books of poetry, fiction, and essays since 1965. She has co-founded and co-directed the literary magazine La Barre du Jour (1965-1975), co-directed the film Some American Feminists (1976), and co-edited the acclaimed Anthologie de la poésie des femmes au Québec (1991 and 2003). Her work has been widely translated into English and Spanish and is also available in many other languages. Nicole has won numerous awards, including winning the Trois-Rivières International Poetry Festival Grand Prix Québecor in 1989 and 1999, the Prix Athanase-David in 1991, and the the first Violet Prize awarded by the Blue Metropolis Festival in 2018. One of her novels, Mauve Desert, has been presented as a multidisciplinary creation in 2018 and is slated for an opera adaptation in 2020-21. She is an officer of the Order of Canada, chevalière of the National Order of Quebec, and a member of l’Académie des lettres du Québec. Nicole currently lives in Montreal.

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