Winner, 2015 Archambault Prize
The year is 1996, and small-town life for 14-year-old Catherine is made up of punk rock, skaters, shoplifting, drugs, and the ghost of Kurt Cobain. Her parents are too busy divorcing to pay her headful of unspent angst much attention. But after she tries a PCP variant called mesc for the first time, her budding rebellion begins to spiral out of control. Acclaimed as the modern-day coming-of-age story for a generation of Québécois youth growing up in the 1990s, Geneviève Pettersen’s award-winning debut novel both shocked and titillated readers in its original French, who quickly ordained it a contemporary classic and a runaway bestseller.
Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, the hotly tipped Québécois director behind Inch-Allah (2012), is currently adapting the story to film. Now Esplanade Books is honored to present The Goddess of Fireflies to English readers for the first time in a powerful translation from award-winning novelist Neil Smith, author of Boo and Bang Crunch.
"In The Goddess of Fireflies Geneviève Pettersen has assembled a narrator who will pull you, willing or not, through her swaggering, fumbling coming of age. A melange of blasé toughness and menacing vulnerability, Catherine and her story will resonate deeply with those of us who grew up in the 90s of Cobain, cocaine, and 18-hole Doc Martens, but it's a universal tale too: the raw scramble of a young woman on the brink. –Anna Leventhal, author of Sweet Affliction
“I really loved The Goddess of Fireflies, where the presence of the Saguenay is made to be as significant as that of Montreal.” –Michel Tremblay