Cover artwork: Daniela Zekina
Translated by Phyllis Aronoff
Today when the issue of identity and ethnicity is again making headlines in Quebec, The Wanderer is if anything more relevant than when it was originally published in 1983 as La Québécoite. This novel looks at contemporary Quebec through the eyes of an immigrant who is, like the author herself, a Jewish woman educated in France. Is there a place for her here? Will her voice be heard in this Quebec that is so intent on finding its own voice?
The author calls The Wanderer "a literary and social experiment." Its form is that of a collage, mixing the memories and impressions of the unnamed protagonist as she wanders through the neighbourhoods of Montreal. Fragments in the collage include scenes from student life in Paris of the sixties, wartime France under German occupation, the nineteenth-century shtetl, and the variegated reality of multi-ethnic Montreal today.
The Wanderer is peopled by an astonishing variety of characters: Latin American political activists in exile, the false messiahs who arose in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, an asthmatic old professor longing for the past, the pipe-smoking Mime Yente with her samovar from Zhitomir, Bilou the orange cat who adores Chopin--and not least, the many faces of Montreal. It is permeated by an unquenchable appetite for life, and its pages are filled with the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of everyday life.
184 pages / 5½" x 8½"
What the Media Are Saying about
"This is Montreal! . . . The city becomes a person." "Comes at an appropriate time. . . [asks] what is a Québécois. . . helped me understand how I fit into Quebec and into Montreal." -- David Gutnick, Daybreak, CBC 940 AM
"A beautiful and surprising book. Phyllis Aronoff's translation is, like the
original, an intelligent and poetic mosaic, striking in its linguistic and literary
diversity." --Montreal Review of Books
"Highly readable, very enjoyable story of an immigrant looking for a home." "Has given Quebec literature a perspective it was missing." "Her work spans cultures, continents, languages." -- Shelley Pomerance, Once upon a Weekend, CBC 940 AM
"Explores the still-topical question of ethnicity in Quebec society . . . successfully
conveys the experience of otherness so well-known to new immigrants and recent
arrivals, a strangeness that can, at some times in some places, become a permanent condition." -- Montreal Gazette
"A surprising, captivating, intelligent, disconcerting book on Quebec's linguistic culture . . . captures Quebec in all its diversity." -- Le Devoir
About the Author / About the Translator / Ordering Information
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