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list price: $16.95
also available: eBook
category: Young Adult Fiction
published: May 2020
publisher: Talonbooks

Searching for Sam

by Sophie Bienvenu, translated by Rhonda Mullins

tagged: poverty & homelessness, urban life, homelessness & poverty, animals

Mathieu lives in the street by choice, eschewing drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. His main companion is his dog Sam, a pitbull, who he says has helped keep him alive. When Sam disappears, Mathieu’s frantic search to find her brings him into confrontation with the secrets of his own past and the pain and grief that drove him onto the street. The novel is a monologue from Mathieu’s point of view, a sort of confessional in which Mathieu opens up to the reader. In flashbacks to his past, we discover the tragedies of his life and the people he has lost. In this book about survivors, Bienvenu takes a tender look at the underside of our cities, and the people that get left behind.

About the Authors
Sophie Bienvenu was born in Belgium. After studying visual communication in Paris, she moved to Quebec in 2001 and quickly established herself as a successful blogger. Her first novel, Et au pire, on se mariera (2011), was adapted into a film by the same name in 2017, and translated into English as Worst Case, We Get Married (Book*hug, 2019). She is also the author of two other novels, Chercher Sam (2014), and Autour d'elle (2016), and the poetry collection, Ceci n'est pas de l'amour (2016). She has also written books for children and teens, including the popular YA series, (k). Bienvenu lives in Montreal.

Rhonda Mullins is a Montreal-based translator who has translated many books from French into English, including Jocelyne Saucier’s And Miles To Go Before I Sleep, Grégoire Courtois’ The Laws of the Skies, Dominique Fortier’s Paper Houses, and Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Suzanne. She is a seven-time finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation, winning the award in 2015 for her translation of Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals. Novels she has translated were contenders for CBC Canada Reads in 2015 and 2019 and one was a finalist for the 2018 Best Translated Book Award. Mullins was the inaugural literary translator in residence at Concordia University in 2018. She is a mentor to emerging translators in the Banff International Literary Translation Program.

Contributor Notes

Rhonda Mullins is a translator living in Montreal. She won the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation for Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals and is a five-time finalist for the award. Her translation of Anaïs Barbeau-Lavallette’s Suzanne was a 2019 finalist for CBC Canada Reads, as was her translation of Saucier’s And the Birds Rained Down, in 2015.

Editorial Reviews

“Among the strengths and the pleasures of Searching for Sam is Bienvenu’s going against the stereotype of the homeless person who is on the street because they are unable to maintain social and affective connections. Mathieu has a community around him, and those of his connections that have broken mostly didn’t do so because of him.”
—Elise Moser, Montreal Review of Books

“It would be a good read for a teen, given the clarity of the language and its subject matter. ” —Elise Moser, Montreal Review of Books

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