Finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards: La dévoration des fées by Catherine Lalonde (French Language Category)
Winner of the 2018 Prix Alain-Grandbois de l’Academie des lettres due Quebec
Finalist for the 2018 Grand Prix du Livre de Montreal
A modern-day fable and feminist bildungsroman, The Faerie Devouring tells the story of the sprite, her absent mother (who dies in childbirth), and a brood of fatherless boys all raised by Gramma, a stalwart matriarch and wicked faerie godmother. From her rural childhood with its crudeness and toil to an urban rebellion with its glittering pleasures, the sprite struggles with and ultimately overcomes the burden of genealogy. A literary spell cast by the daring and critically-acclaimed Quebecois author Catherine Lalonde and reimagined by the award-winning poet and translator Oana Avasilichioaei, this feral incantation comes alive through disenchantment, desire, phantasmagoria, defiant imagination, and unruly language.
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Praise for The Faerie Devouring:
I hate to advise you but all us girls started out as a snot and a wiggle wrapped in a blanket to keep us still, and The Faerie Devouring is every gal’s story. Maybe it’s our way of yammering the words that Kafka’s penal officer has etched on his own back: Be Just. Except unlike Kafka, Catherine Lalonde doesn’t make us die, she makes us live as sprites and sisters and grammas and dead moms, and in her turned tables, the penal colony is the human family in its stink and whine and scream and will to life. I too grew up in the 1960s! Vache de vacherie! So wipe my nose with a stick. Hein? —Erín Moure
Cole Foundation Prize for Translation Jury Citation:
Before this truly unique and impressive book, one is both utterly transfixed and fully implicated, mystified and illuminated. Its opacity is inviting, its obscurity intriguing.
With The Faerie Devouring, Oana Avasilichioaei doesn’t only translate language, she translates a language. A language, because Catherine Lalonde clearly wrote La dévoration de fées in an idiom all her own, specific to herself and her motley cast of spectral characters… In other words, this is a most ambitious translation project.
An extraordinary book, and an equally extraordinary translation.
Fall Preview 2018 Selection: Fiction in Translation—Quill and Quire
Most Anticipated: Our Fall Fiction Preview —49th Shelf
Deux livres québécois bientôt traduits en anglais —Le Devoir
Interview with Oana Avasilichioaei —Quebec Reads
Lost in the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold —49th Shelf
KFB 2018 Picks —Knife Fork Book
“I want to draw attention to the translator’s own virtuosity and dexterity in rendering Lalonde’s densely poetic, experimental and semantically complex language. French nursery rhymes and lullabies are transformed into English ones, and passages such as the one above, with its neologisms, English expressions and echoes from other Quebec writers, are joyously and imaginatively rendered.” —Event Magazine
“It’s a vicious and nasty book, and god I love it. Anything I could say about Faerie Devouring is better served by the book itself… it takes a passionate author, wild, brilliant, and free, and that the translator must be all those things too… It’s almost dull that I like this book as much as I do, cause I’m a sucker. I’m a sucker for books as visceral as this one.” —P.T. Smith, Three Percent
“Lalonde’s language is organic, pulsing, and repetitive in the way of fairy tales. The Faerie Devouring is a loose, impressionistic text that captures the fraught, shifting relationship between the sprite and her Gramma.” —Helen Chau Bradley, Montreal Review of Books
Catherine Lalonde lives in Montreal. Her publications include Cassandre (2005), and Corps étranger (2008, winner of the Émile-Nelligan Award) and La dévoration des fées (2017), finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards. She works as a journalist for the Montreal daily Le Devoir.
Montreal-based writer, translator, and editor Oana Avasilichioaei has published five poetry collections, including Expeditions of a Chimaera (with Erín Moure; 2009), We, Beasts (2012; winner of the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry from the Quebec Writers’ Federation) and Limbinal (2015). Previous translations include Bertrand Laverdure’s Universal Bureau of Copyrights (2014; shortlisted for the 2015 ReLit Awards), Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa (co-translated with Ingrid Pam Dick; 2015), and Daniel Canty’s Wigrum (2013). Her translation of Bertrand Laverdure’s Readopolis won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation.