In this terse, prize-winning novel, Marie Hélène Poitras, with an imagination tutored by the Minotaur myth, offers a controversial tale about a thug who exults in his ferocious urges and is as incorrigible as a primal force. Torrès (the bull) enthusiastically and unapologetically seeks hectic transcendence through rape and recurring fits of epilepsy. Ariane (Ariadne), straying into his twisted, downtown Montreal labyrinth, suffers the consequences of his random sexual predation, though significantly, her refusal to be a terrorized and passive victim haunts him.

Ariane’s deliverance from his maze, her conquest of persistent fears, is prolonged past her assailant’s capture. Once more she must learn to live and love – in particular, men – to pick up and follow the thread of human trust, to feel sure again about her flat’s dark places and her walk-in cupboard’s contents. On the site of the Berlin Wall, in a reunified Germany that has survived its own and other regimes’ violent perversions, she permits herself to be gently hoisted up and passed from palm-to-palm over a vast and joy-filled crowd.

  • 176 pages

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