Read Kamouraska by Anne Hébert Free Online
Book Title: Kamouraska|
The author of the book: Anne Hébert
Date of issue: June 30th 2006
ISBN: No data
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 863 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.6
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"I'm going to be married. My mother has said yes. And so have I, deep in the darkness of my flesh. Will you help me? Tell me, Mother, will you? What's your advice? And you, dear aunts? Tell me, is it love? Is it really love that's troubling me so? Making me feel as if I'm about to drown..."
A realization I've made over the past few months is I have to read more Quebecois writers. Every single female Quebecois writer I've come across has been wonderful. I've read an Hébert novella and a collection of poems, this is the first time for me to read a full book and what an experience. I love it when poets write novels. And this one, although was difficult to follow at the start, is amazing and full of intrigue. And it was apparently based on a true story, one which took place in 19th Century Quebec.
Elisabeth d'Aulnières and Antoine Tassy, squire of Kamouraska. What else would a girl want? This is called a gothic mystery but I saw it as something more, as a woman in despair. She is abused, her husband openly cheats on her, and she perhaps falls for the first man who is kind to her, the first man she opens up to about her husband's abuse. Using this American Protestant man, Hébert shows how different he was from Catholic French culture:
"They're afraid of you, Doctor Nelson. As if, under all that obvious selflessness of yours-- too obvious, perhaps-- some fearsome identity lies hidden...That original flaw, deeper than your Protestant religion, deeper than your English language..."
I enjoyed this book very much. You feel the despair of a woman trapped, having nowhere to go, being forced to bear children and stay in a loveless marriage. This is the despair of a very young woman who seems to have aged before her time because of turmoil. Very beautifully written.
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Read information about the authorAnne Hébert was born on August 1, 1916 in Sainte-Catherine-de-Fossambault, a small village 40 kilometers from Québec city. Born into a well-respected Québec family, whose ancestors included some of the earliest settlers of New France, Hébert was encouraged in her literary endeavours by her cousin, the poet Hector de Saint-Denis Garneau. The greatest influence on her writing, however, was undoubtedly her father Maurice Hébert, a part-time literary critic who worked for the Québec government. He fostered her desire to write and, through his guidance, provided her with a solid literary education. Having begun writing poems, stories, and plays at a very young age, Anne Hébert found her work being published in a variety of periodicals by the time she was in her early twenties.
Anne Hébert's first volume of poetry, Les Songes en équilibre, appeared in 1942 to good critical response and it was awarded the Prix David. Despite this success, however, the violence in her 1945 story "Le Torrent" and the darkness of her poetry collection Le Tombeau des rois caused Québec publishers to refuse to publish them. When the former was finally published in 1950 and the latter in 1952, it was done at the personal expense of Roger Lemelin and Hébert respectively. In 1954 Hébert used a grant from the Royal Society to continue her writing in Paris, a setting she thought would be more receptive to the style and subject matter of her writing. From that moment on, though she frequently visits Canada, Paris would be her home as well as the location of the publisher of all her subsequent books, the prestigious French publisher Les Éditions du Seuil.
Fortunately for English readers in Canada and around the world, Anne Hébert is one of the most translated writers from Québec. Two volumes of her poetry, Anne Hébert: Selected Poems (1987) and Day Has No Equal but the Night are still in print, while translations of her plays "La Mercière assassinée" ("The Murdered Shopkeeper"), "Le Temps Sauvage" ("The Unquiet State"), and "Les Invités au procès" ("The Guests on Trial") were published in the journal Canadian Drama between 1983 and 1988 (issues 9.1, 10.2, and 14.2 respectively). Though some translations of her fiction are currently out of print, the following texts have appeared in English over the years: The Torrent (1973, translated by Gwendolyn Moore), The Silent Rooms (1974, translated by Kathy Mezei), Kamouraska (1974, translated by Norman Shapiro), Children of the Black Sabbath (1977, translated by Carol Dunlop-Hébert), Héloïse (1982, translated by Sheila Fischman), In the Shadow of the Wind (1983, translated by Sheila Fischman), The First Garden (1991, translated by Sheila Fischman and winner of the Félix Antoine-Savard Prize for Translation), and Aurélien, Clara, Mademoiselle, and the English Lieutenant (1996, translated by Sheila Fischman). Anne Hébert is also one of the writers from Canada whose work is well known by readers from around the world. Kamouraska, for instance, has been translated into at least seven languages, including Spanish, Italian, German, and Japanese and was adapted for film by Claude Jutra.
Over the course of her nearly sixty year career, Anne Hébert has won many literary awards including the Prix David in 1942 for Les Songes en équilibre, the Prix France-Canada and the Prix Duvernay in 1958 for Les Chambres de bois, the Governor General's Literary Award in 1960 for Poèmes, the Molson Prize in 1967, a second Governor General's Award in 1975 for Les Enfants du sabbat, and the Prix Fémina in 1982 for Les Fous de Bassan.
For her immense contribution to Québécois literature and for the great impact her work has had on Canadian and international readers, Northwest Passages is pleased to recognize Anne Hébert as our feature author for the month of March, 1998.
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