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Arachnide Editions

A Twilight Celebration

Written by Marie-Claire Blais • Translated by Nigel Spencer

Published July 30, 2019 | ISBN 9781487002480
FICTION / Literary

Cover of A Twilight Celebration

Regular price $22.95 CAD

288 pages | 8 in × 5.25 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

A Twilight Celebration

Marie-Claire Blais • Nigel Spencer

The latest work in internationally acclaimed author Marie-Claire Blais’s masterful novel cycle, A Twilight Celebration examines the prophetic side of the writer and the burden that falls to him in a world whose fate is yet to be determined.

Daniel, a middle-aged novelist and loving father alienated from one of his sons and unsure how to care for his daughter, is on his way to an international conference of writers. The gathering is to be held in the forest above a mountain village of a strangely dreamlike nature. In the twilight of the festival’s setting, dreams, memories, nightmares, and dark forebodings meld in Daniel’s unsettled but deeply sympathetic consciousness: He is haunted by pressing existential questions: What is to be done? What are his responsibilities as a father, as a friend — and as a writer? As Daniel confronts his own vanities, as he recalls the activism but also the disappointments and betrayals of friends and colleagues — as he contends with, above all, the fears and aspirations of his children in times marred by apocalypse, he asks, ultimately, what can be done?

In what may well be the most beautiful and disturbing of her novels, Marie-Claire Blais leads us on a heady, spellbinding journey through an interconnected world in which the artist strives to divert humankind’s headlong rush towards a terrible destiny. Here is a world in which friends and strangers, the living, the dead and those not yet born, are inextricably bonded by their often flawed but always splendid humanity. Yet again, Blais captivates with her urgent concerns, irrepressible empathy, and singular idiom: A Twilight Celebration is an astonishing literary accomplishment.

About the Creators

Marie-Claire Blais

MARIE-CLAIRE BLAIS is the internationally revered author of more than twenty-five books, many of which have been published around the world. In addition to the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, which she has won four times, Blais has been awarded the Gilles-Corbeil Prize, the Médicis Prize, the Molson Prize, and Guggenheim Fellowships. She divides her time between Quebec and Florida.

Nigel Spencer

Nigel Spencer has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation with three novels by Marie-Claire Blais: Thunder and Light, Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, and Mai at the Predators’ Ball, which was also a finalist for the QWF Cole Foundation Prize for Translation. He has translated numerous other works and films by and about Marie-Claire Blais, Poet Laureate Pauline Michel, Evelyn de la Chenelière, and others. He is also a film-subtitler, editor, and actor now living in Montreal.

Awards and Praise


“[Blais] meets the world head-on … To accept her invitation to A Twilight Celebration is to let an ocean of voices, from Rome to Manhattan to Key West, wash over you.” — Le Magazine Littéraire

“Marie-Claire Blais reveals all of humanity’s thirsts; every breath of life is expressed by the novelist as if it already existed in her. Blais’s understanding of matters of existence is such that all one can do is breathe as she does and adopt her thirst for good, the never-ending hungers of the world.” — La Presse

“A sublime and visionary novelist.” — Journal de Québec


“Without a doubt Blais is the greatest living Quebec writer at present, she will certainly leave an incredible and inexhaustible legacy for scholars of her work.” — La Presse

“A magnificent song of pain, full and hypnotic.”—

“Life throbs on every page of this breathtaking work and stirs us, dazzles us, and lulls us.” — TVA/Salut Bonjour

“Marie-Claire Blais is our Marcel Proust!” — TVA/Salut Bonjour


Winner, Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal

“Resilience and memory are at the heart of this ‘saga’ where voices intermingle … driven by powerful prose.” — Huffington Post

“The powerful, lyrical, and unclassifiable prose of this great writer will not leave you untouched.” — La Librarie

“One of the strongest books [in the series]. Every time, every book is an experience in itself.”— Montreal Gazette

“A powerful novel. Dense and charged.” — Voir

“Long spiralling sentences are carried by a grandiose prose.” — Chatelaine


Winner, Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation

“A rare work … At the end of [Mai at the Predators’ Ball], you feel you’ve been to a strange and passionate place. You feel as if the modern world has rushed in like a stiff cool breeze, refreshing yet also unsettling.” — Le Devoir

“An extraordinary novel. A majestic fresco of unwavering power, showcasing the author’s vision of humankind … lucid, potent, compassionate, and full of tenderness for all the women and men who live in this chaotic age of ours.” — Radio-Canada

“Marie-Claire Blais should be classified as a national treasure … Another milestone in the work of a masterful writer who loves everything that is beyond the scope close to normal …” — La Presse