cover image Rhapsody in Quebec: On the Path of an Immigrant Child

Rhapsody in Quebec: On the Path of an Immigrant Child

Akos Verboczy, trans. from the French by Casey Roberts. Baraka (IPG, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (246p) ISBN 978-1-77186-102-1

Verboczy’s debut is a provocative self-portrait of an immigrant who became a proud sovereigntist (supporter of Quebec’s independence from Canada or self-government) and critic of Canadian multiculturalism. Verboczy moved to Montreal from Hungary at the age of 11, and later became a political attaché to Quebec’s immigration minister and a newspaper columnist. His book charts the development of his political sensibilities but notes that he is an exception. He argues that most immigrants to Quebec identify with anglophones rather than francophones and Quebecois culture. He blames both the English-speaking minority and the French-speaking majority for this: the English for opposing Bill 101, the 1977 law that made French the official language of Quebec, and the French for being far too reticent in the matter of cultural transmission. Verboczy writes that Quebec is weak when it comes to promoting its history and culture, celebrating diversity at the expense of its own traditions, which he says are marginalized by the disingenuous insistence that all Quebecois are immigrants to a land first settled by indigenous peoples. This intelligent, funny, often ironic, and sometimes frustrating book will interest readers who want a sharp view of identity and language politics in Canada. (May)