cover image My October

My October

Claire Holden Rothman. Penguin Canada, $22 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-14-318867-4

For Hugo L%C3%A9vesque, life in Montreal in 2001 is not easy. He is the son of the famous francophone author Luc L%C3%A9vesque, considered the voice of his generation of francophone Quebeckers who dream of Quebec as an independent nation. But Hugo's mother is anglophone, and he struggles with fitting into Quebec society. He speaks both of Canada's official languages but quickly realizes only one is considered acceptable in Montreal and especially in his father's view. In an effort to find where he belongs, Hugo attempts to make a connection with his maternal grandfather. "In Montreal, he used English as a weapon. But here, in his grandfather's home, it was just a language," he finds. After bringing a gun to school and showing pride in his English heritage, Hugo is suspended from school and forced to complete a project about violence. While researching, he discovers his family's connections to the FLQ crisis of October 1970. 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. Agent: Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Agency. (Sept.)