By (author): Vickie Gendreau

On June 6, 2012, Vickie Gendreau was diagnosed with a brain tumour. In between treatments, between hospital stays and her “room of her own,” she wrote Testament, an autofictional novel in which she imagines her death and at the same time, bequeaths to her friends and family both the fragmented story of her last year and the stories of the loved ones who keep her memory alive, in language as raw and flamboyant as she was.

In the teasing and passionate voice of a twenty-three-year-old writer, inspired as much by literature as by YouTube and underground music, Gendreau’s sense of image, her relentless self-deprecation, and the true emotion in every sentence add up to an uncompromising work that reflects the life of a young woman who lived without inhibitions, for whom literature meant everything right up until the end.

In this way, Testament (translated by talented writer and translator Aimee Wall), inverts the elegiac, “grief memoir” form and plays with the notion of a last testament, thereby beating any would-be eulogists to the punch.


Vickie Gendreau

Vickie Gendreau was born in Montréal in 1989. While working in Montréal strip clubs from October 2009 to June 2012, she was also active in the literary community, where she participated in events like the Off-Festival de poésie de Trois-Riviéres. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012, and passed away a year later. Her first novel, Testament, written after her diagnosis, was published in the fall of 2012 and longlisted for the 2013 Prix littéraire France-Québec. Her second novel, Drama Queens, was published in 2014. The English adaptation of Testament, translated by Aimee Wall, was published by Book*hug Press in the fall of 2016.


“English readers will encounter a translation that faithfully captures Gendreau’s slangy French, and they might note its parallels with works by Sheila Heti or Kathy Acker because of its defiance of a patriarchal literary world, of the so-called rules of self-representation, of what constitutes “women’s writing.” Testament blurs fact and fiction, defying not just how life should be portrayed, but death, too. Don’t be reverent. And don’t pretend that this isn’t a world where “A girl’s skin is being bruised by a man in a van / somewhere.”” —Montreal Review of Books

“The journey through the end of Gendreau’s life and beyond remains delicate, introspective, and wholly unusual. It is a literary trip worth taking.” —Publishers Weekly

“There is, in Testament, a voice, an energy, a style. Vickie Gendreau was a real talent as a writer. It won’t please everyone, but it’s undeniable. Yes, it’s a cry, sometimes harsh, sometimes confused, it is gut-wrenching and, surprise, is also shot through with touches of humour.” —Chatelaine

Testament’s fragmented texts alternate between the narrator’s private journal and the voices of her friends as they receive her posthumous writing. It is an uncompromising experience, brutal when you least expect it.” —La Presse

“This novel… was felt like a literary tsunami, with the cries of her prose and the intrinsic qualities of her writing.” —Le Canada français

“In addition to the confronting her own imminent mortality, Gendreau takes determined ownership of her legacy.” —Quill and Quire


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152 Pages
8.00in * 5.25in * .30in


October 12, 2016


Book*hug Press



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