Life in the Court of Matane

By (author): Eric Dupont

Translated by: Peter McCambridge

Nadia Comaneci’s gold-medal performance at the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976 is the starting point for a whole new generation. Eric Dupont watches the performance on TV, mesmerized. The son of a police officer (Henry VIII) and a professional cook—as he likes to remind us—he grows up in the depths of the Quebec countryside with a new address for almost every birthday and little but memories of his mother to hang on to. His parents have divorced, and the novel’s narrator relates his childhood, comparing it to a family gymnastics performance worthy of Nadia herself. Life in the Court of Matane is unforgiving and we explore different facets of it (dreams of sovereignty, schoolyard bullying, imagined missions to Russia, poems by Baudelaire), each based around an encounter with a different animal, until the narrator befriends a great horned owl, summons up the courage to let go of the upper bar forever, and makes his glorious escape.


Peter McCambridge

Originally from Ireland, Peter McCambridge holds a BA in modern languages from Cambridge University, England, and has lived in Quebec City since 2003. He runs Québec Reads and QC Fiction. His translations have been World Literature Today Notable Translations, longlisted for Canada Reads, and finalists for the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Translation.


Eric Dupont

Born in 1970, Eric Dupont lives and works in Montreal. He has published 5 novels with Marchand de feuilles and in France with Éditions du Toucan and Éditions J?ai lu (Flammarion). He is a past winner of Radio-Canada?s ?Combat des livres? (the equivalent of the CBC?s Canada Reads contest), a finalist for the Prix littéraire France-Québec and the Prix des cinq continents, and a winner of the Prix des libraires and the Prix littéraire des collégiens. Songs for the Cold of Heart, his fourth novel and his second to be published in English with QC Fiction, was a finalist for the Governor General?s Award for Translation and the Giller Prize. It has since been published by HarperVia, an imprint of HarperCollins, outside of Canada as The American Fiancée.


“A beautiful, tragicomic coming-of-age story . . . This translation is knocking my socks off.” —Bronwyn Averett,

“I have found that many of my favourite books have come from the Quebec based publisher QC Fiction.” —Winstonsdad.wordpress

“One of Quebec’s most daring and original writers.” —La Presse

“With an excellent translation by McCambridge, one which reads smoothly and keeps the humour which undoubtedly pervades the original, Dupont’s novel makes for an entertaining look at a Québécois childhood . . . . It all makes for an impressive start for QC Fiction.” —Tony,

“Wildly imaginative . . . a remarkably sensitive and intelligent coming-of-age story told with an irresistible blend of heartache, humour and magic.” —Joe Schreiber,

“A classic coming-of-age novel worth pondering over.” —Steven Buechler,

“A captivating voice that sharply trapezes between a heightened version of his parents’ divorce and life in the countryside . . . Eric’s insights brim with intelligence” “Tangential, expansive in its ability to capture youth at a crossroads, and unexpectedly piercing . . . an inventive novel” —Karen Rigby, Foreword Reviews

“If the Americans have John Irving and the Colombians Gabriel Garcia Marquez, we have Eric Dupont. And he’s every bit as good as them.” —Voir

“I was so engrossed in Eric’s personal quest to escape Matane that I found myself saying ‘Wait! It can’t end yet!’ Trust me, you’ll find yourself hoping Eric Dupont is somewhere in La belle province writing a sequel to Life in the Court of Matane . . . QC Fiction has done a great service to English readers everywhere by translating this popular Quebec novel for us. Bien fait.” —James Fisher,

“By turns poignant, playful, and nostalgic, the book evokes ’70s Quebec with the quirky but successful device of combining an autobiographical family story with motifs drawn from fable, history, politics and myth . . . . Translator McCambridge beautifully captures the joyous top notes and the darker undercurrents of this fascinating voice.” —Publishers Weekly


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266 Pages
215.9mm * 8.5in * 5.5in * 139.7mm * 0.6in15.24mm


July 01, 2016


Baraka Books



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