Arachnide Editions

Hunting Houses

Written by Fanny Britt • Translated by Susan Ouriou • Translated by Christelle Morelli

Published July 01, 2017 | ISBN 9781487002398
FICTION / Literary

Cover of Hunting Houses

Regular price $18.95 CAD

224 pages | 8.00 in × 5.25 in
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

Hunting Houses

Fanny Britt • Susan Ouriou • Christelle Morelli

Tessa is a thirty-seven-year-old real estate agent living in Montreal. She adores her husband and three young sons, but she’s deeply unhappy and questioning the set of choices that have led to her present life.

After a surprising run-in with Francis, her ex-boyfriend and first love, Tessa arranges to see him. During the three days before their meeting, she goes about her daily life — there’s swimming lessons, science projects, and dirty dishes. As the day of her meeting with Francis draws closer she has to decide if she is willing to disrupt her stable, loving family life for an uncertain future with him.

With startling clarity and emotional force, Fanny Britt gives us a complex portrait of a woman and a marriage from the inside out.

Excerpt

Évelyne is crying in earnest now. I take her hand. I say yes, her house is fabulous. I myself would buy it if I could. It will make some family very happy just as hers was for several years.

My client nods, I know she finds the idea comforting — all my clients do. There must be some solace in thinking your house will go on living apart from you, like an extension, a promise renewed no matter the hardships or failures, bestowing sudden meaning on sorrow. Personally, it's all a mystery to me since I have no desire to see others blossom where I once withered away — but then I'm not a very nice person.

Évelyne shows me the rest of her house: two children's bedrooms. In the first room, a cream-coloured quilt in a delicate pattern of pink and pale-green buttercups and peonies. A number of lively drawings on the walls, all signed SOLENE. In the second bedroom, blue and green stripes, dinosaur figurines, wood letters painted red hanging on the door: MATTEO. Évelyne was astute enough to keep the walls white. It won't be as difficult for potential buyers to project their own lives onto them — nothing is less helpful than a pink bedroom covered in princess decals for the morale of a mother with two sons who longs for the daughter she never had and hopes to find in her new abode the secret formula that will at last guarantee her the perfect family she's dreamt of since childhood. I respond to the client with all the solicitude I can muster, Who knows, this house could be a lucky charm, but when, guilt-ridden at having downplayed the worth of the children she does have, she grabs hold of my arm, My boys are wonderful, I love them so much, after all, what counts is that they're healthy, no? Do you have children? and I answer, Yes, three boys, for the space of a second, she's caught between wanting to be me and relief that she isn't. Her coral lips give the faintest, saddest smile ever smiled and she murmurs: Three boys. That's quite something, isn't it.

About the Creators

Fanny Britt

Fanny Britt is a Quebec playwright, author and translator. She has written a dozen plays (among them Honey Pie, Hôtel Pacifique and Bienveillance) and translated more than fifteen. She has also written and translated several other works of literature. Jane, the Fox and Me is her first graphic novel.

Susan Ouriou

Susan Ouriou is a novelist and translator. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Christelle Morelli

Awards and Praise
Fanny Britt’s Hunting Houses is as transparent and true a picture of startling, soul-seizing, everyday love as you’ll ever come across in fiction. But here, also, is the kind of haunting temptation that can threaten enduring love, the hairline crack from the past that promises to break apart everything that matters. Think Chekhov’s Lady with Lapdog or poor Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina — if those women were to fall in love in 80s Montreal, if they had to line up all night on the sidewalk waiting for Pearl Jam tickets, if they grew up to be real estate agents with an eye for homey interiors and faults in the foundation. Think of all the subtle, complex deals women make with themselves to stay true. In bone-honest, luminous prose, Britt shows the nature of lust and how we can become the playthings of our past desires, however illusory.