Beautiful Risks: An Introduction to “À la prochaine fois”: 1995 and Literature in Post-Referendum Quebec, Summer 2015 Svpplement.

by Jason Freure

René Lévesque finished his concession speech for the 1980 sovereignty referendum with a phrase that would ingrain itself in Quebec’s psyche for the next 35 years: “À la prochaine fois.” Since that first defeat, sovereignty has never left the political discourse of Quebec. Lévesque wouldn’t live to see the next time, nor to see his party stray from its underlying socialist policies, but that phrase continues to influence the political scene today. Parti Québécois leader Pierre Karl Péladeau won his position with a hard line on sovereignty, billed by Le Devoir and CTV as separation’s “last chance.” In the popular imagination, two important things happened on October 30th, 1995: 49.4 percent of Quebecers voted Yes to the referendum question and 50.6 percent voted No, and Premier Jacques Parizeau started crunching the numbers between nous and les autres, thus defining his image among non-péquistes with “l’argent pi le vote ethnique.” Only …...



by Anna Leventhal

Jessie meant to listen for those three notes, the three notes that seem to come from deep within the subway tunnel, doon doon doon, an ascending maj...


Fall 1995.

by Melissa Bull

First day of school. Roll call in astronomy-for-arts-dummies class. I am the only person with an English nom. Everyone files out to smoke on the bre...


by Jesse Eckerlin

We didn’t want to grow into the shape of things to come. The outflow of a borough’s artery diverted through bedroom transoms, cholesterol leve...

Three Poems.

by Jay Winston Ritchie

JARRY PARK The Academy for Deaf Mutes suggested I get a haircut. Then I was at the park, where I got a haircut. Sparrows nipped a little off the top...


Some Thoughts on the Wrapping Text.

by Geneviève Robichaud

I want composition multiplied in reflections. I write what I think of as a wrapping text. Sentences the length of something wound. A ribbon. A reel....


A 19-Year-Old’s Referendum: An Interview with Heather O’Neill.

by Jason Freure

Heather O’Neill is the author of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, which was published to rave reviews. Her first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, was the winner of CBC’s Canada Reads and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Orange Prize. O’Neill is a regular contributor to CBC Books, CBC Radio, This American Life, The New York Times Magazine, The Gazette, and The Walrus. She was born in Montreal, where she currently lives. I met Heather O’Neill and her publicist in the lobby of the Holiday Inn on Carlton Street in Toronto. It was early May, and O’Neill was in the city to talk on the panel “What Women Write” at the Pages Unbound Festival. O’Neill is the author of two novels, Lullabies for Little Criminals and The Girl Who Was Saturday Night. In April, …...


A Product of Its Time: A Review of Heather O’Neill’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night.

by Myra Bloom

There are many ways in which Heather O’Neill’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night asks us to suspend our disbelief. Seen through the eyes of 19-year-old Nouschka Tremblay, the seedy intersection of Montreal’s Rue Saint-Catherine and Boulevard Saint Laurent is the epicentre of a bohemian kingdom she presides over with her twin brother, Nicholas. Cats flit like fairies in an out of every scene, dusting the streets with magic. It is not, however, the book’s fantastic elements that pose the biggest challenge to us as readers: arguably, the greatest leap of faith we are asked to take occurs across linguistic lines. Although The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is written in English, its characters are francophones who have actively resisted learning “the language of colonialism.” 1 The novel is furthermore set in a francophone milieu on the eve of the 1995 referendum, a moment where linguistic and cultural tensions were …...