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list price: $16.95 USD
also available: Paperback
category: Fiction
published: Mar 2021
publisher: Talonbooks


by Larry Tremblay, translated by Sheila Fischman

tagged: psychological, literary

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

Sheila Fischman

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

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


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


"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


“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

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