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Marie Hélène Poitras


192 pages | 11 avril 2023 | Couverture : © Ai Natori

A love is born in the belly of a church and dies at the end of every night. A little girl tries to tame a big dog while her neighbors keep a close watch. A man seduces a woman with help from a horse. A radio host is confronted with utter silence. Islanders struggle with their boredom and rage. A writer recalls her first words.


In her trademark incisive, poetic prose, Marie Hélène Poitras offers up short stories that travel back to the dark frenzy of Montreal at the turn of this century (much like the setting of Stéphane Larue’s The Dishwasher) and then lead up to the present day. Along the way, she takes a few detours, even visiting the suburban Ottawa of her childhood, a place that permanently shaped her relationship to the world and language.


Whether set in the horse stables Poitras knows so well or on an imaginary island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the stories examine our relationships with one another uncompromisingly and with great curiosity and depth. They also probe the strange, essential thing that is empathy to better grasp its connection to the strange, essential thing that is writing. To wrap up the collection, she includes an essay that explores the foundations of her literary approach and links writing to horseback riding, in the same way Murakami links writing to running.


A powerfully stirring collection that lies at the intersection of desire, pain, compassion, and selfishness, the difficult terrain where humanity takes shape.

Coup de cœur Renaud-Bray
Les libraires conseillent : août 2023
Marie Helene Poitras Crédit photo Charles-Olivier Michaud


Marie Hélène Poitras

Born in 1975, Marie Hélène Poitras received the Anne-Hébert Award for her first novel Soudain le Minotaure. La mort de mignonne et autres histoires (2005) was short-listed for the Quebec Booksellers Award. In 2012, she published Griffintown, a novel inspired by the Montreal neighbourhood of the same name, winner of the France-Quebec Award and a finalist for the Ringuet Prize. La desiderata is Poitras’ third book with Alto.

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