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Brulotte, Gaétan.

Translated by David Lobdell. Ottawa, Oberon Press. 1988. 144pp. paper. ISBN 0-88750-711-5 (cloth) $25.95, 0-88750-712-3 (paper) $12.95.

Reviewed by E. Robson

Volume 16 Number 6
1988 November

Although there is little written about Gaétan Brulotte in Canadian literary publications, he did win the Prix Robert-Cliche for the best first novel published in Quebec in 1979.

The story is based on a novelist who is writing a book about a man that he discovers is writing a novel about him. The writer, Block, becomes so obsessed with an exhibitionist, whom he refers to as his double, that he follows and watches him for hours, eventually forcing him to action by anonymous letters and theft of everything he owns except for two briefcases he always carries with him. Both men are mentally unstable; Brulotte seems to feel this is essential for creating and writing and thus providing escape from the real world.

The novel abounds in psychiatric terminology; for example, Block asks himself of his inertia, "is it the result of some neurasthenic or hypochondriacal condition, some abulic or cyclothymic disorder?"

Brulotte's style is excessively wordy. As a result the book is difficult to read and beyond most secondary students. There is nothing that sustains interest in this strange work and therefore it will have a very limited appeal.

E. Robson, Winston Churchill C.I. Scarborough, Ont.
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