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list price: $19.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
category: Fiction
published: Apr 2020
ISBN:9781772012477
publisher: Talonbooks

Impurity

by Larry Tremblay, translated by Sheila Fischman

tagged: literary, psychological
Description

Bestselling author Alice Livingstone is dead. She leaves her philosopher husband, Antoine, to deal with her legacy, towards which he feels increasingly estranged. Confronted with his wife’s much-reported disappearance, Antoine revisits their past relationship: open and liberal on the outside, but constrained and deviant on the inside. The news of the day (the death of JFK Jr., the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk), which plays on the television running in the novel’s background, gradually becomes significant in the lives of the protagonists – as revealed in Alice’s mysterious, posthumous last novel, A Pure Heart. Bit by bit, as we move closer to the novel’s centre, its narrators lose reliability; their discourses and pretenses become more and more confused, fragmentary, and misleading. Good intentions become corrupted and appearances prove to be deceiving. Impurity’s conclusion is as gripping as it
is asphyxiating.

 

After his masterpieces The Orange Grove and The Obese Christ, Larry Tremblay, one of Québec’s most accomplished novelists and playwrights of the last two decades, offers his readers a riveting mystery, a self-reflective enigma whose decoding places on trial the
literary form itself.

 

 

A playful and macabre narrative tour de force, Impurity weaves a fascinating web of interlocking narratives in an epistolary puzzle connecting forms with voices, and voices with revelations.

About the Authors
Larry Tremblay is a writer, director, actor and specialist in Kathakali, an elaborate dance theatre form which he has studied on numerous trips to India. He has published more than twenty books as a playwright, poet, novelist and essayist, and he is one of Quebec’s most-produced and translated playwrights (his plays have been translated into twelve languages). The publication of Talking Bodies (Talonbooks, 2001) brought together four of his plays in English translation. He played the role of Léo in his own play Le Déclic du destin in many festivals in Brazil and Argentina. The play received a new production in Paris in 1999 and was highly successful at the Festival Off in Avignon in 2000. Thanks to an uninterrupted succession of new plays (Anatomy Lesson, Ogre, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, Les Mains bleues, Téléroman, among others) in production during the ’90s, Tremblay’s work continues to achieve international recognition. His plays, premiered for the most part in Montreal, have also been produced, often in translation, in Italy, France, Belgium, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Argentina and Scotland. In 2001, Le Ventriloque had three separate productions in Paris, Brussels and Montreal; it has since been translated into numerous languages. More recently, Tremblay collaborated with Welsh Canadian composer John Metcalf on a new opera: A Chair in Love, a concert version of which premiered in Montreal in April 2005. In 2006 he was awarded the Canada Council Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for his contribution to the theatre. He was a finalist in 2008 and 2011 for the Siminovitch Prize. One of Quebec’s most versatile writers, Tremblay currently teaches acting at l’École supérieure de théâtre de l’Université du Québec à Montréal.

Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Sheila Fischman was raised in Ontario and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She is a founding member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and has also been a columnist for the Globe and Mail and Montreal Gazette, a broadcaster with CBCRadio, and literary editor of the Montreal Star. She now devotes herself full time to literary translation, specializing in contemporary Québec fiction, and has translated more than 125 Québec novels by, among others, Michel Tremblay, Jacques Poulin, Anne Hébert, François Gravel, Marie-Claire Blais, and Roch Carrier. Sheila Fischman has received numerous honours, including the 1998 Governor General’s Award (for her translation of Michel Tremblay’s Bambi and Me for Talonbooks); she has been a finalist fourteen times for this award. She has received two Canada Council Translation Prizes and two Félix-Antoine Savard Awards from Columbia University. In 2000, she was invested into the Order of Canada and, in 2008, into the Ordre national du Québec, and, in 2008, she received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize for her outstanding contributions to Canadian literature. She holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Ottawa and Waterloo. Fischman currently resides in Montréal.
Contributor Notes

Larry Tremblay is a writer, director, actor, and specialist in Kathakali, an elaborate dance theatre form which he has studied on numerous trips to India. He has published twenty books as a playwright, poet, novelist, and essayist. Thanks to an uninterrupted succession of new plays (Anatomy Lesson, Ogre, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, Les Mains bleues, Téléroman, among others) in production during the 1990s, Tremblay’s work continues to achieve international recognition. One of Quebec’s most versatile writers, Tremblay currently teaches acting at l’École supérieure de théâtre de l’Université du Québec à Montréal.

Editorial Reviews

“I thoroughly enjoyed the interlocking layers of this book. Entertaining and complex, Impurity invites a second reading between the lines.” —Patricia Sandberg, miramichireader.com


“[S]traightforward, almost stark, an effective contrast to the emotionally heavy material”
Montreal Review of Books


"A page-turner ... suspenseful and readable from start to finish."—Montreal Review of Books

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“I thoroughly enjoyed the interlocking layers of this book. Entertaining and complex, Impurity invites a second reading between the lines.”—Miramichi Reader

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"A tightly nested narrative … Tremblay offers an incredibly rich character study … [he] plays with philosophy, with time, with authorship, with language and names, and with a host of representational, structural, and post-structural features … The story pulls us forward through a series of crises, each building to the next and bringing us to the brink of empathy.”—Rain Taxi

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