CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by Richard Teleky.

Toronto, Oxford University Press, c1983.
268pp, paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-9 1-540298-7.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Kenneth A. Elliott.

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January

Spanning a century and a half, this anthology offers twenty-two stories that will entertain, charm, and frequently disturb. It is the first major historical collection of French-Canadian short stories in translation, many of which have been translated here for the first time.

The format of the book includes a table of contents and an interesting set of biographical sketches. The print is clear and easy to read, even though the margins are narrow. One would have appreciated an index of relevant themes contained in the stories, which would have facilitated its use in the classroom. Nevertheless, the work lends itself well as an important reference to French-Canadian literature.

The translators involved in this project certainly have the feel for both languages. They have rendered the idiomatic expressions smoothly and precisely, capturing the full thrust of the original idiom. There is no stiffness in the text, nor any attempt to render merely a word-for-word translation of the original French.

For the serious reader seeking to understand the French-Canadian contribution to Canada, their preoccupations, concerns, fears, and joys, must include this book on their reading list. Human nature is depicted with all its faults and failings, yet not in an overly pessimistic fashion. Marie-Claire Blais's superb introduction clearly sets this collection in its proper historical context. She has captured the point of view of each of the authors so as to assist the reader to appreciate more deeply the literary contribution of each one.

Any course in Canadian literature should include this little volume in its required reading list.

Kenneth A. Elliott, Laval Catholic H. S. Chomedey, QB.
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