Women in a World at War

By (author): Madeleine Gagnon

Translated by: Howard Scott, Phyllis Aronoff

In 1999, poet and novelist Madeleine Gagnon undertook to document the experience of women in the many war zones at the end of a “century of ashes” through their own eyes and in their own words. Her record of those encounters boldly confronts the harshest realities of and asks the most difficult questions about not only the horrors of war, but also the quest for justice, the experience of love and compassion, the inextinguishable hope for the future, and the will to live—the humanity that endures against all odds.

Travelling to Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, Gagnon talked with women of all ages and social classes: those who fought side-by-side with men in wars of independence; who suffered terrible abuse in war; who lost their men, their homes, their children, their entire families; women working to heal the survivors, and those involved in different peace movements. She explores why women themselves have not found a way to put an end to war, why they continue, from generation to generation, to raise sons who make war and oppress women, what stake women themselves might have in war. And she dares to look within herself for the answers to these questions and for the roots of all conflict, war, and destruction. Elle magazine of France described this book as “sublime … a long, strange poem that recalls the work of such giants of literary journalism as V.S. Naipaul and Ryszard Kapuscinski.

AUTHOR

Howard Scott

Howard Scott was born in southwestern Ontario and moved to Quebec in 1975. His translation of “L’Euguélionne” by Louky Bersianik won the Governor General Literary Award in 1997. He has translated many poetry, fiction, and non-fiction titles, often in collaboration with Phyllis Aronoff. In 2001, they won the Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Award and in 2009 they were shortlisted for the Governor General Literary Award. He is a past president of the Literary Translators Association of Canada. He lives in Montreal.

AUTHOR

Phyllis Aronoff

Phyllis Aronoff, a Montrealer born and bred, translates from French to English, solo or with co-translator Howard Scott. She has translated fiction, poetry, memoirs, and works in the humanities by authors from Québec and France. Among her recent translations are Message Sticks / Tshissinuatshitakana, poems by Innu writer Joséphine Bacon, and novels (co-translated with Howard Scott) by Rima Elkouri and Edem Awumey. Her translations have won several prizes, including the Jewish Book Award for Fiction and, with Howard Scott, the Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation. Phyllis is a past president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and has represented translators on the Public Lending Right Commission of Canada.

AUTHOR

Madeleine Gagnon

Madeleine Gagnon has made a mark on Quebec literature as a poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer. Born in Amqui, a little village in the Matapedia Valley on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, she decided at the age of twelve to be a writer, and after her early education with the Ursuline nuns, went on to study literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis at the Université de Montréal, the Sorbonne, and the Université d’Aix-en-Provence, where she received her doctorate. Since 1969, she has published over thirty books while at the same time teaching literature in several Quebec universities. Her work in all genres combines passion, lucidity, erudition, poetic vision, and political commitment, boldly transgressing the boundaries between poetry and prose. Among her many awards are the prestigious Athanase-David Prize (2002) for her lifetime body of work, the Governor General’s Award for Poetry (1990) for Chant pour un Québec lointain (translated by Howard Scott as Song for a Far Quebec), and the Journal de Montréal Prize (1986) for Les Fleurs du catalpa. Her work has also won international recognition, with many publications in France and some fifteen translations into English, Spanish and Italian. Nancy Huston has described Madeleine Gagnon as someone in whom the boundary between inner and outer life is porous; her words are poetry and her ear for the words of others is poetry too. Everything she takes in from the world is filtered, processed, transformed by the insistent rhythms of the songs within her.

Reviews

“The descriptions of the women and their environs are bold and vivid. The words describing the pain and suffering are strangely luxurious, like coming upon an oasis in an unforgiving desert. Do not read this book if you’re pressed for time. It will demand that you take care of it, nurture it, lavish it with the attention you would give a child. Gagnon’s prose is to be savored, like fine food, not gulped like a fast-food hamburger. You will be rewarded for reading about women in a way only a woman could describe.”
– Rachael Hanel, www.womenwriters.net


“Women in a World at War, by Quebec writer Madeleine Gagnon, is an extraordinary work… In uncovering the psychological roots of violence, Gagnon reveals the systemic and domestic abuse of women to be an underlying basis for the brutalities of war. And yet the book’s overall tone is hopeful, for both the women and the devastated countries where they reside. The book pays tribute to the spirit and energy of women who drive activist movements across the world.” – Quill and Quire


“Women in a World at War, by Quebec writer Madeleine Gagnon, is an extraordinary work.” – Quill and Quire


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In 1999, poet and novelist Madeleine Gagnon undertook to document the experience of women in the many war zones at the end of a “century of ashes” through their own eyes and in their own words. Her record of those encounters boldly confronts the harshest realities of and asks the most difficult questions about not only the horrors of war, but also the quest for justice, the experience of love and compassion, the inextinguishable hope for the future, and the will to live—the humanity that endures against all odds.

Travelling to Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, Gagnon talked with women of all ages and social classes: those who fought side-by-side with men in wars of independence; who suffered terrible abuse in war; who lost their men, their homes, their children, their entire families; women working to heal the survivors, and those involved in different peace movements. She explores why women themselves have not found a way to put an end to war, why they continue, from generation to generation, to raise sons who make war and oppress women, what stake women themselves might have in war. And she dares to look within herself for the answers to these questions and for the roots of all conflict, war, and destruction. Elle magazine of France described this book as “sublime … a long, strange poem that recalls the work of such giants of literary journalism as V.S. Naipaul and Ryszard Kapuscinski.

Reader Reviews

Details

Dimensions:

320 Pages
8.5in * 216mm * 5.5in * 140mm * 0.8125in21mm
454gr
16.125oz

Published:

October 01, 2003

City of Publication:

Vancouver

Country of Publication:

CA

Publisher:

Talonbooks

ISBN:

9780889224834

9780889227217 – EPUB

9780889228412 – EPUB

9780889228610 – EPUB

9780889228979 – EPUB

9780889229174 – EPUB

Book Subjects:

SOCIAL SCIENCE / 

Featured In:

All Books

Language:

eng

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