The Transatlantic Agency congratulates Claire Holden Rothman, whose wonderful new novel MY OCTOBER (Penguin Canada, September 2014) has been longlisted for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
MY OCTOBER is a masterful novel weaving together three unique voices of a family torn apart by the power of language and the weight of history. Claire Holden Rothman is the author of two story collections and a best-selling novel, The Heart Specialist, longlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize and published in six countries. A full description of MY OCTOBER follows below.
Since 1994 The Giller Prize has recognized the best in Canadian long and short-form fiction, and it has been awarded to such luminaries as Margaret Atwood, Linden MacIntyre and Alice Munro. In celebration of the 21st anniversary of the award The Scotiabank Giller Prize has increased the prize purse to $100,000.00 for the winner and $10,000.00 for each shortlisted author. The shortlist will be announced October 6th.
Our congratulations go out to all the longlisted authors.
MY OCTOBER by Claire Holden Rothman
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October 1970. FLQ terrorists kidnap a British diplomat in Montreal and hold him hostage for fifty-nine days. More than thirty years later, the story continues to reverberate.
Luc Lévesque is a celebrated Quebec writer and the anointed Voice of a Generation. In his home town of Montreal, he is revered as much for his novels about the working-class neighbourhood of Saint-Henri as for his separatist views. But this is 2001. The dreams of a new nation are dying and Luc himself is increasingly dissatisfied with his life.
Hannah is Luc’s wife. She is also the daughter of a man who served as a special prosecutor during the October Crisis. For years, Hannah has worked faithfully as Luc’s English translator. She has also spent her adult life distancing herself from her English-speaking family. But at what cost?
Hugo is their troubled fourteen-year-old son. Living in the shadow of a larger-than-life father, Hugo is struggling with his own identity. In confusion and anger, he commits a reckless act that puts everyone around him on a collision course with the past.
Weaving together three unique voices, My October is a masterful tale of a modern family torn apart by the power of language and the weight of history. Spare and insightful, Claire Holden Rothman’s new novel explores the fascinating and sometimes shocking consequences of words left unsaid.
Claire Holden Rothman is the author of two story collections and a best-selling novel, The Heart Specialist, longlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize and published in six countries. Her translation of Canada’s first novel, L’influence d’un livre (The Influence of a Book) by Philippe-Ignace-François Aubert de Gaspé, won the John Glassco Translation Prize. She lives in Montreal with playwright Arthur Holden.
Praise for My October:
“Rothman (The Heart Specialist) expertly weaves the intimate story of this family with the political history of Quebec. This novel about power, language and acceptance should resonate with those who have felt torn between languages and cultures, as well as those who have felt like outsiders in their own city or country.”
“Deftly rendering the inner voice of each of her protagonists – Hugo, Hannah, and Luc – she presents a nuanced network of perspectives, challenging the divisive dichotomy that generally characterizes Quebec politics.”
-Montreal Review of Books
“For western Canadian readers, the October Crisis might not be the easiest entry point for a novel. But by giving us this story in English, Claire Holden Rothman has provided an intimate window into the scars left by that era, unique to that place and time. Good stories take the specific and make it universal. This compelling, finely crafted novel accomplishes that beautifully.”
-The Winnipeg Free Press
“We’ve all heard the old Chekhov directive that if a gun appears at a certain point, it has to go off by a certain point. What Holden Rothman does with that is just one of the many ways she subverts expectations in a book whose dramatic ironies and emotional depths deepen with practically every page.”
-Ian McGillis, The Montreal Gazette