Like a Child of the Earth, the first volume of Jovette Marchessault’s autobiographical trilogy, won the Prix France-Québec in 1976. In it, the largely self-taught artist and author, who left school at the age of fourteen to work in a factory, reflects upon her ?years of wandering before encountering painting and writing.” Though a first novel, this is by no means a conventional account of growing up poor in the Plateau Mont-Royal. Rather it is a unique, lyrical, frequently surreal interior journey which carries the reader in the belly of a great Greyhound from Mexico across all America, past cornfields haunted by Jack Kerouac’s ghost, to Montreal, back through time to Columbus, and forward to futures as yet unrealized. The final section of the book celebrates Jovette’s grandmother, painter of hens and pianist extraordinaire, who becomes the centre of the next volume, Mother of the Grass. Though distinctively québécoise, Marchessault’s voice is profoundly North American as well, and her vision encompasses the tragic and glorious history of the entire continent.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Jovette Marchessault is a novelist, a playwright and a sculptor. She is the winner of the Prix France-Québec, the Grand Prix Littéraire Journal de Montréal, the Grand Prix Littéraire de la ville de Sherbrooke and the Governor General’s Award. Like a Child of the Earth (1988), The Magnificent Voyage of Emily Carr (1992), Mother of the Grass (1989), Saga of the Wet Hens (1983) and White Pebbles in the Dark Forests (1990) are available in English translation from Talonbooks.
?The most profound glimpse into a native Canadian woman’s imaginative experience.?
? Books in Canada
“The most profound glimpse into a native Canadian woman’s imaginative experience.”
— Books in Canada