The Lover, the Lake

By (author): Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau

Translated by: Susan Ouriou

A spellbinding novel celebrating Indigenous sensuality; the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French.

When it was first published in Quebec, The Lover, The Lake was heralded as the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French. Today, as it is translated into English for the first time, author Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau would rather call it a celebration of sensuality, another first. At a time when Indigenous peoples were being dispossessed of their land and history as well as their relationship to the body, the love explored by Wabougouni and Gabriel is an act of defiance. Their intimate connection plays out on the shores of Lake Abitibi in an affair as turbulent and unfathomable as the lake itself.

“The aim here is to break free of the bonds of wounds the priests’ abuse has left on our bodies and souls, wounds linked to loss–of land, of intimate spaces, of identity both as an individual and community member, of sexual identity, of delight in the body, of innocence and the uncomplicated nature of lovemaking. My hope is that this novel will serve to unearth the seed of joy buried deep in our culture, still profoundly alive . . . The Lover, the Lake shows us that we are not just suffering and victims: we can also be pleasure.” — Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, from the prologue


Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau is an internationally recognized visual artist and writer of Cree origin. She has published three novels and two poetry collections in French. She received the 2020 Artist of the Year Award from the Counseil des arts et lettres du Quebec. She lives in Abitibi, in northwest Quebec.


Susan Ouriou

Susan Ouriou is an award-winning writer, editor and literary translator, with over thirty translations and co-translations of fiction, non-fiction, children’s and young adult literature to her credit. She won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation. She lives in Calgary.


Praise for Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau

“Poetic and hauntingly beautiful.” – Canadian Notes and Queries

“A gift to its readers.” – Montreal Review of Books

“Both raw and poetic? about healing and continuance? May more French Indigenous writing find its way into English.” – Globe and Mail


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170 Pages
8.00in * 5.50in * .45in


May 01, 2021


Freehand Books



Book Subjects:

FICTION / Indigenous



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