cover image The Party Wall

The Party Wall

Catherine Leroux, trans. from the French by Lazer Lederhendler. Biblioasis (Perseus/Consortium; U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $14.95 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-77196-076-2

This translation of Leroux's second novel, which won the Prix France-Qu%C3%A9bec in 2014, is a superbly crafted collection of interrelated short stories with characters who reappear throughout the book. Leroux follows two girls, young Monette and her protective older sister, Angie, on a walk that changes their lives. Ariel, a youthful Canadian prime minister in a post-apocalyptic world, and his wife, Marie, discover a secret that shakes their idyllic marriage. Madeleine undergoes tests to determine her compatibility for a kidney transplant in order to save her son, Edouard, and uncovers her own complicated medical situation Intertwined with their story are those of travelers staying in Madeleine's house: Joanne, a woman with medical training, and Edouard's free-spirited lover, Yun. Other memorable characters are the feisty and dying Frannie, who brings her deceased, stuffed cat with her to the hospital, and her long-suffering children, Simon and Carmen, who are hoping to learn the identity of their father before Frannie dies. Throughout, Leroux skillfully reveals the inner worlds of her achingly human characters and the intricate bonds that connect them to each other. Images from this beautiful and moving book will haunt readers. (July)