Suzanne

Translated by: Rhonda Mullins

SHORTLISTED FOR CBC CANADA READS 2019

WINNER OF THE BEST TRANSLATED BOOK AWARD

Eighty-five years of art and history through the eyes of a woman who fled her family – as re-imagined by her granddaughter.

Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette never knew her mother’s mother. Curious to understand why her grandmother, Suzanne, a sometime painter and poet associated with Les Automatistes, a movement of dissident artists that included Paul-Émile Borduas, abandoned her husband and young family, Barbeau-Lavalette hired a private detective to piece together Suzanne’s life.

Suzanne, winner of the Prix des libraires du Québec and a bestseller in French, is a fictionalized account of Suzanne’s life over eighty-five years, from Montreal to New York to Brussels, from lover to lover, through an abortion, alcoholism, Buddhism, and an asylum. It takes readers through the Great Depression, Québec’s Quiet Revolution, women’s liberation, and the American civil rights movement, offering a portrait of a volatile, fascinating woman on the margins of history. And it’s a granddaughter’s search for a past for herself, for understanding and forgiveness.

‘It’s about a nameless despair, an unbearable sadness. But it’s also a reflection on what it means to be a mother, and an artist. Most of all, it’s a magnificent novel.’– Les Méconnus

AUTHOR

Rhonda Mullins

Rhonda Mullins is a Montreal-based translator who has translated many books from French into English, including Jocelyne Saucier’s And Miles To Go Before I Sleep, Grégoire Courtois’ The Laws of the Skies, Dominique Fortier’s Paper Houses, and Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Suzanne. She is a seven-time finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation, winning the award in 2015 for her translation of Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals. Novels she has translated were contenders for CBC Canada Reads in 2015 and 2019 and one was a finalist for the 2018 Best Translated Book Award. Mullins was the inaugural literary translator in residence at Concordia University in 2018. She is a mentor to emerging translators in the Banff International Literary Translation Program.


Reviews

‘This is prose to lose yourself in. Never complicated, it’s gentle like a love song, comforting and enveloping like a black-and-white film, full of tones and textures. These sentences can destroy us. Not for their simplicity, but for the powerful beauty within the simplicity.’ —Peter McCambridge, ‘Best Translated Book Award: Why This Book Should Win,’ on Suzanne


Awards

  • CBC Canada Reads 2019, Short-listed
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    Details

    Dimensions:

    224 Pages
    8.41in * 8.43in * 0.92in
    0.88lb

    Published:

    April 24, 2017

    Publisher:

    Coach House Books

    ISBN:

    9781552453476

    Book Subjects:

    FICTION / Literary

    Language:

    eng

    fre

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