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category: Fiction
published: Dec 2019
publisher: Talonbooks

Rite of Passage

by Michel Tremblay, translated by Linda Gaboriau

tagged: coming of age, family life, literary, sagas

At the crossroads at the end of childhood, Nana faces the hectic passing of her adolescence and the arrival of new responsibilities as her grandmother Joséphine approaches her last hours. To calm the storm, Nana reads the enthralling tales of Josaphat-the-Violin – a returning character in Tremblay’s Plateau-Mont-Royal Chronicles. Three of Josaphat’s fantastical stories contain revelations whose full influence in her own existence Nana cannot yet measure. In parallel, Nina’s rebellious mother Maria languishes back in Montréal. She is torn between her desire to gather her young family around her and her deep uncertainty about being able to care for them properly. Always in search of what’s "best" and what’s "elsewhere," will Maria seize the opportunity "which only hits the door of life once"?


However, the most difficult passage in the lives of Tremblay’s characters is that of time, inexorable, irrevocable, altering and often breaking everything in its path: the feelings and souls it binds and unbinds, sometimes for the better, and too often for the worse.

Rites of Passage is the awaited fourth instalment in Michel Tremblay’s enthralling and intensely moving Desrosiers Diaspora series of novels, translated from French by the critically acclaimed and long-time Tremblay specialist Linda Gaboriau. Novels Crossing the Continent (2008 Prix du grand public Salon du livre de Montréal / La Presse), Crossing the City (2009 Prix du grand public Salon du livre de Montréal / La Presse), and A Crossing of Hearts, instalments one, two, and three in Tremblay’s saga, were all published by Talonbooks.

About the Authors

Michel Tremblay

A major figure in Québec literature, Michel Tremblay has built an impressive body of work as a playwright, novelist, translator, and screenwriter. To date Tremblay’s complete works include twenty-nine plays, thirty-one novels, six collections of autobiographical stories, a collection of tales, seven screenplays, forty-six translations and adaptations of works by foreign writers, nine plays and twelve stories printed in diverse publications, an opera libretto, a song cycle, a Symphonic Christmas Tale, and two musicals. His work has won numerous awards and accolades; his plays have been published and translated into forty languages and have garnered critical acclaim in Canada, the United States, and more than fifty countries around the world.

Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montréal. Her translations of plays by Québec’s most prominent playwrights have been published and produced across Canada and abroad. In her work as a literary manager and dramaturge, she has directed numerous translation residencies and international exchange projects. She is the founding ­director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Gaboriau has won the Governor General’s Award for Translation three times: in 1996 for Daniel Danis’s Stone and Ashes, in 2010 for Wajdi Mouawad’s Forests, and in 2019 for Wajdi Mouawad’s Birds of a Kind. She is a member of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec.
Contributor Notes

Born in a working-class family in Quebec, novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay was raised in Montreal's Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood. An ardent reader from a young age, Tremblay began to write, in hiding, as a teenager. One of the most produced and most prominent playwrights in the history of Canadian theatre, Tremblay has received countless prestigious honours and accolades. Because of their charismatic originality, their vibrant character portrayals, and the profound vision they embody, Tremblay's dramatic, literary and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity; his plays have been adapted and translated into dozens of languages and have achieved huge success in Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.

Of his own work, Tremblay has said, I know what I want in the theatre. I want a real political theatre, but I know that political theatre is dull. I write fables. Tremblay's novel The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant was long-listed for the CBC Canada Reads program in both 2002 and 2003. In April 2006 – as Montreal concluded its term as World Book Capital – Tremblay was the recipient of the Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix, awarded annually in recognition of a lifetime of literary achievement to a writer of international stature and accomplishment.

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