Suzanne by Anais Barbeau-Lavalette (33)

This is another book that fits into this month’s challenge for the Canadian book Review Challenge.  It was translated by Rhonda Mullins.

This is a great story for all women, and a must-read. The book is written in a unique form. It is a series of vignettes and snippets of prose. I just love stories that are written like this.

This story was a bestseller in French. And I would wager to say that it should get an award in English too. The style of writing is raw and authentic. It is a gem of a story.

Anais Barbeau-Lavalette never knew her maternal grandmother, Suzanne. Throughout the story, she is trying to understand why the sometime painter and poet associated with Les automatistes, a movement of dissident artists that included painter Paul-Emile Borduas, abandoned her husband and young family. Barbeau-Lavalette was hired as a private detective to piece together her lie.

This book is a fictionalized account of Suzanne’s life over eighty-five years from Montreal to Brussels to New York. The story portrays each of her lovers through a series of personal and artistic travails that mirror the political movements of the times.

Along the way, Suzanne offers an unforgettable portrait of a volatile, fascinating woman and the near-century she witnessed, while chronicling a granddaughter’s search for understanding, forgiveness, and a familial past.



About irenesroth

I am a freelance and academic writer. I am currently writing a book called `Fearless Freelance Writers`. Please look out for it soon on this blog.
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