A Good Death

Gil Courtemanche, Author, Wayne Grady, Translator , trans. from the French by Wayne Grady. Douglas & McIntyre $14.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-55365-215-1

French-Canadian Courtemanche opens his flawed second novel (after Sunday at the Pool in Kigali ) with a vivid portrait of the narrator's father at dinner with his large family on Christmas Eve struck dumb and feeble by rigid Parkinson's and stuffing himself with food. André, the narrator and eldest child, confesses he has never loved his father, a tyrant he unabashedly compares to Stalin. Flashbacks reveal a violent and domineering but insecure man who jealously once claimed the prize-winning walleye André caught in a fishing competition. As the evening progresses, André concludes that his father is better off dead, but it is impossible to tell whether the idea of patricide by gourmandism, proposed as a joke that ultimately becomes part of a plan, springs from a benevolent change of heart or from Oedipal rage. The story plays out mostly in André's head, through summary and analysis rather than drama, and the lusty, repellent father is the only character who truly comes alive on the page as the novel heads toward its shocking conclusion. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/27/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 217 pages - 978-1-926706-87-0
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