A Cannibal and Melancholy Mourning

By (author): Catherine Mavrikakis

Translated by: Nathalie Stephens

French novelist Hervé Guilbert’s 1991 novel, To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, is about a narrator named Hervé Guilbert who, after his close friend Muzil (really, Michel Foucault) dies of AIDS, begins to realize his symptoms are the same. In this same tradition of fictionalized memoir, this novel’s narrator, called Catherine Mavrikakis, explores the perspective not of dying, but of the one left behind.

In the book, a series of Mavrikakis’s friends die, many of AIDS. As each person becomes a Hervé to her, she begins to explore the idea of death as a universal yet individual experience. Furious, relieved, terrified and confused, the novel’s narrator confronts the way people think about and respond to death, and quiet mourning is replaced by a series of encounters between the living and the dead. Drawing on Deleuze, Freud, Foucault and, of course, Guilbert, Mavrikakis creates a kind of living mausoleum where those unable to speak can still be heard, and where their voices challenge our passivity in the face of death.

AUTHOR

Nathalie Stephens

Nathalie Stephens (Nathanael) writes l’entre-genre in English and French. She is the author of a dozen books including ABSENCE WHERE AS (CLAUDE CAHUN AND THE UNOPENED BOOK) (Nighboat Books, 2009), AT ALBERTA (Book*hug, 2008), THE SORROW AND THE FAST OF IT (Nightboat Books, 2007), TOUCH TO AFFLICTION (Coach House, 2006), PAPER CITY (Coach House, 2003), Je Nathanael (l’Hexagone, 2003) and L’Injure (l’Hexagone, 2004), a finalist for the 2005 Prix Alain-Grandbois and Prix Trillium. JE NATHANAEL exists in English self-translation (Book*hug, 2006). Other work exists in Basque and Slovene with book-length translations in Bulgarian (Paradox Publishing, 2007). In addition to translating herself, Stephens has translated works by Catherine Mavrikakis, Gail Scott, Bhanu Kapil, and Sina Queyras.


AUTHOR

Catherine Mavrikakis

Catherine Mavrikakis was born in 1961 in Chicago and has lived all her life in Montréal. She is the author of four novels, an essay, and an oratorio, Omaha Beach (2008). Her most recent book, Le Ciel de Bay City (2009), published in Québec and in France and which earned her the Grand Prix de la Ville de Montréal, Le Prix littéraire des Collégiens and the Grand Prix des Libraires du Québec. A Cannibal and Melancholy Mourning, also translated by Nathanaël, was published in English in 2004.


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Details

Dimensions:

160 Pages
8.25in * 5.0in * 0.5in
0.51lb

Published:

April 01, 2004

Publisher:

Coach House Books

ISBN:

9781552451403

Book Subjects:

FICTION / Literary

Featured In:

Pride Reads

Language:

eng

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