Shortlisted for the 2016 Giller Prize
Selected for Indies Introduce Summer/Fall 2016
Catherine Leroux's first novel, translated into English brilliantly by Lazer Lederhendler, ties together stories about siblings joined in surprising ways. A woman learns that she absorbed her twin sister's body in the womb and that she has two sets of DNA; a girl in the deep South pushes her sister out of the way of a speeding train, losing her legs; and a political couple learn that they are non-identical twins separated at birth. The Party Wall establishes Leroux as one of North America's most intelligent and innovative young authors.
Catherine Leroux was born in 1979 in Montreal, Quebec, where she continues to live and write.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This novel will make your brain sore in the best way, with four storylines revolving around familial relationships and sticky themes of connection and disconnection. Catherine Leroux dreams up characters whose bonds are strong enough to weather a regular catastrophe—and then confronts them with completely mind-boggling challenges. Leroux’s writing—translated into English for the first time here—is rich, unsettling, and sometimes full-on creepy. Her intelligent and sophisticated stories raise questions about closeness of many sorts. The Party Wall will push you, similarly to the ways intimacy itself does.
This translation of Leroux's second novel, which won the Prix France-Qu bec in 2014, is a superbly crafted collection of interrelated short stories with characters who reappear throughout the book. Leroux follows two girls, young Monette and her protective older sister, Angie, on a walk that changes their lives. Ariel, a youthful Canadian prime minister in a post-apocalyptic world, and his wife, Marie, discover a secret that shakes their idyllic marriage. Madeleine undergoes tests to determine her compatibility for a kidney transplant in order to save her son, Edouard, and uncovers her own complicated medical situation Intertwined with their story are those of travelers staying in Madeleine's house: Joanne, a woman with medical training, and Edouard's free-spirited lover, Yun. Other memorable characters are the feisty and dying Frannie, who brings her deceased, stuffed cat with her to the hospital, and her long-suffering children, Simon and Carmen, who are hoping to learn the identity of their father before Frannie dies. Throughout, Leroux skillfully reveals the inner worlds of her achingly human characters and the intricate bonds that connect them to each other. Images from this beautiful and moving book will haunt readers.