CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Maheux-Forcier, Louise.

Translated by David Lobdell. Ottawa, Oberon Press, 1987. 128pp, paper, ISBN 0-88750-687-9 (cloth) $25.95, 0-88750-688-7 (paper) $12.95.

Reviewed by Ingrid vonHausen

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

Amadou is the first of a trilogy that includes Isle of Joy (Oberon, 1987) and A Forest for Zoe (Oberon, 1986). It first appeared in French in 1963. A more recent novel, Letter by Letter (Oberon Press, 1982), has also been translated by Lobdell. Amadou is a stark, impressionistic novel of thwarted love. Nathalie, the lesbian heroine-narrator, only occasionally sane, is obsessed by the untimely death of her first love, Anne, by drowning. Nathalie is rescued from a life of aimless promiscuity on the streets of Paris by painter Julien, whom she has just killed at the start of the book. Why and how we are not to know. This is one of those infuriating novels where nothing is ever explained. We are lucky to have a tough thread of plot. However, taken as it is, it is a powerful and finely written novel; this is an author of considerable talent. Let it be noted that the lesbianism is handled with extreme delicacy. It is never this author's intention to be explicit about anything, ever.

The language is also suitably spare: "That priest and that monastery were madness and reason locked in a painful embrace" (p. 12). This rare metaphor gives the essence of the novel. It is attractively produced with good paper and large print. The excellent cover painting by Jacques de Tonnancoeur is very much in keeping with the tone and theme of the book, but it will not attract readers. Only the best readers in senior high school will be able to make anything of this existential novel.

Ingrid vonHausen, New Hamburg, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works