The Immaculate Conception (novel)
First edition cover
|Original title||L'Immaculée conception|
|Language||English translation of original French|
|Publisher||House of Anansi Press|
|April 28, 2006|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|LC Class||PQ3919.2.S655 I4613 2005|
The book was named the winner of the 2007 Quebec Writers' Federation Prize for Translation at the Quebec Writers' Federation Awards. The novel was also a finalist for the 2006 Canada Council for the Arts Governor General’s Literary Awards, one of five books shortlisted for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize—Canada's largest annual prize for fiction—and was also one of four novels nominated for the 2006 ReLit Awards.
Author and translator
The author of four novels, Canadian Gaétan Soucy's first novel, L'Immaculée conception, received rave reviews—both in Quebec and abroad—and established him "as a powerful new literary force in Quebec". Soucy studied physics at l’Université de Montréal, and took a Master's degree in philosophy at McGill University, where he also studied Japanese and literature. He lived and worked in Montreal, Quebec.
In addition to the 2006 Governor General’s Literary Awards, Lazer Lederhendler is the translator of two other books nominated for the award. The Sparrow Has Cut The Day In Half, his French to English translation of Claire Dé's Bonheur, oiseau rare, was one of the five nominees for the 1999 Governor General’s Literary Award for "Translation (French to English)", and his translation of Pierre Tourangeau's Larry Volt was one of the finalists for the same award in 2002. He teaches English in Montreal.
The Immaculate Conception has been described as echoing "the writing of Edgar Allan Poe and Fyodor Dostoevsky" and illuminating the "sublime, the uncanny, and the horrific that burns at the core of ordinary lives". Set in the mid-1920s in the isolated, working-class parish of Nativité in East-end Montreal, the novel chronicles the aftermath of a deadly fire—75 people die when a neighborhood restaurant is burned to the ground by an arsonist.
The cast of characters includes a pianist, mortician, bank clerk, a clubfooted school teacher, demonic fire chief, demented lumberjack, and the bank clerk's wheelchair-bound father. In spite of (or because of) the characters' oddities, they become nearly cartoon characters—extremely memorable stereotypes. Chronicling the "ordinary" lives after the inferno, the story gradually reveals a series of horrific events from the clerk's childhood and ultimately the reader is reminded that some crimes will forever remain secrets.
- Soucy, Gaétan (2006-04-28). The Immaculate Conception. Translated by Lazer Lederhendler. Toronto, Ontario: House of Anansi Press. p. 336. ISBN 0-88784-736-6.
- "Author Vincent Lam Wins the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize". The Scotiabank Giller Prize. 2006-11-07. Archived from the original on 2006-10-14. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- "QWF Literary Prizes Awarded at Lion d'Or Ceremony". The QWF Literary Awards. Quebec Writers' Federation. 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2011-05-02.
- "The Canada Council for the Arts announces finalists for the 2006 Governor General's Literary Awards". News Releases - 2006. Canada Council for the Arts. 2006-10-16. Archived from the original on 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- "2006 Shortlists: Novel". The ReLit Awards. 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- Dé, Claire (1998-01-15). The Sparrow Has Cut The Day In Half. Translated by Lazer Lederhendler. Toronto, Ontario: Exile Editions. p. 148. ISBN 1-55096-150-0.
- "The Canada Council for the Arts Announces Nominees for the 1999 Governor General's Literary Awards". News Releases - <2000. Canada Council for the Arts. 1999-10-19. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- Tourangeau, Pierre (2001-10-01). Larry Volt. Translated by Lazar Lederhendler. Montreal, Quebec: XYZ Publishing. p. 232. ISBN 0-9688166-4-9.
- "The Canada Council for the Arts Announces Nominees for the 1999 Governor General's Literary Awards". News Releases - 2002. Canada Council for the Arts. 2002-10-21. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- "The Canada Council for the Arts Announces Nominees for the 1999 Governor General's Literary Awards". The Immaculate Conception. House of Anansi Press. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- Zwarenstein, Carlyn. "Justifiable force: If a writer's going to hit you in the gut, they'd better have a good reason". book lounge reviews: fiction. www.rabble.ca, © Zwarenstein, Carlyn. Retrieved 2011-05-02.