Finalist for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize
From the author of the international bestselling, award-winning Lullabies for Little Criminals, a coming-of-age novel set on the seedy side of Montreal’s St. Laurent Boulevard
Gorgeous twins Noushcka and Nicolas Tremblay live with their grandfather Loulou in a tiny, sordid apartment on St. Laurent Boulevard. They are hopelessly promiscuous, wildly funny and infectiously charming. They are also the only children of the legendary Québécois folksinger Étienne Tremblay, who was as famous for his brilliant lyrics about working-class life as he was for his philandering bon vivant lifestyle and his fall from grace. Known by the public since they were children as Little Noushcka and Little Nicolas, the two inseparable siblings have never been allowed to be ordinary. On the eve of their twentieth birthday, the twins’ self-destructive shenanigans catch up with them when Noushcka agrees to be beauty queen in the local St. Jean Baptiste Day parade. The media spotlight returns, and the attention of a relentless journalist exposes the cracks in the family’s relationships. Though Noushcka tries to leave her family behind, for better or worse, Noushcka is a Tremblay, and when tragedy strikes, home is the only place she wants to be.
With all the wit and poignancy that made Baby such a beloved character in Lullabies for Little Criminals, O’Neill writes of an unusual family and what binds them together and tears them apart. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is classic, unforgettable Heather O’Neill.
O'Neill's follow up to international bestseller Lullabies for Little Criminals follows twins, Nouschka and Nicolas Tremblay, through their travails in 90s Quebec in an entertaining but hollow story. The story is told through Nouschka's relentlessly energetic voice and begins by outlining their childhood: their father is Quebecois folk legend tienne Tremblay and mostly absent, and their mother left them as infants. As kids, Etienne used the twins for promotional stunts, making them minor local stars. Now, 19-years-old and dropped out of high school, Nicolas and Nouschka are adrift; partying and sleeping around. Nouschka enrolls in night school and falls in love as Nicolas attempts to forge a relationship with their mother without success. Nouschka laments that their mother "had loved us on television. The same way that everybody had loved us, which was the same thing as not loving us at all." Their father reappears with an eager documentarian who hopes to film the Tremblay family, and things begin to unravel. The ride through the twins' coming-of-age is largely enjoyable, though also forgettable.