Mister Roger and Me
Written by Marie-Renee Lavoie
Translated by Wayne Grady
Publication Date September 29, 2012
Helen, alias "Joe," would rather be a boy and have all kinds of adventures like Lady Oscar, her favourite cartoon heroine. She daydreams about living in another time and achieving great things, but she must be content delivering newspapers and working at the bingo hall. After all, she is only eight years old, even though she claims to be ten.
When Roger, an old man who drinks like a fish, swears like a sailor, and dreams about dying, moves into the working-class neighbourhood where Helen lives with her family, the two make uneasy acquaintances. But, after a series of scary and disturbing events, an unlikely friendship develops — one that changes them both forever.
This stunning debut novel in the spirit of Miriam Toews' The Flying Troutmans and Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English won Quebec's Prix Archambault and won Radio-Canada's Battle of the Books (Canada Reads) competition in its original French. Mister Roger and Me perfectly captures the irony, innocence, heartbreak, and humour of childhood.
Marie-Renée Lavoie was born in 1974 in Limoilou near Quebec City. She holds an MA in literature from Laval University. La petite et le vieux, her debut novel, was published in Quebec in 2010 and won Radio-Canada's "Battle of the Books" and the Archambault prize. She currently teaches literature at Maisonneuve College in Montreal.
Wayne Grady is the author of fourteen books of science and natural history and the editor of six anthologies of short stories. His translations of Daniel Poliquin's Black Squirrel and Francine D'Amour's Return from Africa were shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award, and he is the winner of the John Glassco Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for Translation. He lives near Kingston, Ontario, with his wife, novelist Merilyn Simonds.
"Funny and touching, Mister Roger and Me will remind readers of a time not so long ago when they were far more trusting of their neighbours." Montreal Review of Books
"... [an] infinitely likeable novel ... Lavoie shares a sensibility with Miriam Toews, where flitty, whimsical kites of characters are tethered to earth with threads of melancholy and darkness." National Post