Suzanne

Suzanne

Book - 2017
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Eighty-five years of art and history through the eyes of a woman who fled her family - as re-imagined by her granddaughter.

Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette never knew her mother's mother. Curious to understand why her grandmother, Suzanne, a sometime painter and poet associated with Les Automatistes, a movement of dissident artists that included Paul-Émile Borduas, abandoned her husband and young family, Barbeau-Lavalette hired a private detective to piece together Suzanne's life.

Suzanne , winner of the Prix des libraires du Québec and a bestseller in French, is a fictionalized account of Suzanne's life over eighty-five years, from Montreal to New York to Brussels, from lover to lover, through an abortion, alcoholism, Buddhism, and an asylum. It takes readers through the Great Depression, Québec's Quiet Revolution, women's liberation, and the American civil rights movement, offering a portrait of a volatile, fascinating woman on the margins of history. And it's a granddaughter's search for a past for herself, for understanding and forgiveness.

'It's about a nameless despair, an unbearable sadness. But it's also a reflection on what it means to be a mother, and an artist. Most of all, it's a magnificent novel.'

- Les Méconnus

Publisher: Toronto :, Coach House Books,, 2017
Edition: First English edition
ISBN: 9781552453476
Branch Call Number: FIC BARBE A

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BPLpicks Mar 18, 2019

Suzanne is one the five contenders being debated at the upcoming Canada Reads event. It is a beautifully written fictional account of author's grandmother and her very interesting life. This is a quick but thoughtful read if you enjoy family histories.


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BPLpicks Mar 18, 2019

Suzanne is one the five contenders being debated at the upcoming Canada Reads event. It is a beautifully written fictional account of author's grandmother and her very interesting life. This is a quick but thoughtful read if you enjoy family histories.

SPL_Melanie Jul 24, 2018

A novel examining the life of a woman who steps away from the young family she's fallen into, after her husband keeps disappearing and leaving her to care for children in an unheated shack with no food or money to manage with.

Inspired by the author's grandmother, this is a story of a woman who wants more from life, and eventually just has to leave to get it. Unfortunately her actions do affect those around her, but then why are stories about women who give up their own life & desires in the service of others considered more palatable? A conundrum!

Beautifully written and full of historical moment, this was a fascinating read.

d
dirtbag
Feb 27, 2018

Canada Reads 2019

A book that you will either love or hate. Written in a somewhat cathartic way, it is an attempt to make sense of a selfish, childish woman who could not, or would not, meet her life obligations. If I am being kinder it is a book about a woman who freed herself and was a women's libber at a time when it wasn't popular. Either way she is not likable.

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