The Acacia Gardens
Written by Marie-Claire Blais
Translated by Nigel Spencer
Publication Date June 04, 2016
What anxiety grips Petites Cendres as he runs towards the sea in the sunshine on a warm tropical morning? Shouldn’t he be reassured by the thought that he now lives at the Acacia Gardens, a comfortable home where all find care, understanding, and healing? How can Fleur, the young musical prodigy, listen to the diabolical confessions of Wrath, the fugitive priest, without shuddering? And, can Daniel the writer finish his novel, the one he has been working on for twenty years, despite his sensitivity and empathy for all creatures, even if they are the most humble, like the lizard he inadvertently crushed under his sandal?
With this latest novel, Marie-Claire Blais once again gives us a vibrant portrait that embraces the span of life — from birth to death and beyond. Her characters question their purpose and what will come after, as they are confronted by evil that lives and that has taken root.
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 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.
"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." Nightlife.ca
"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
"… moral complexities and the grandiosity of Blaise’s language give this book its appeal…" Toronto Star
"The Acacia Gardens is a sublime evocation of human existence in all its darkness and light, and even achieves a kind of dualism that escaped its modernist antecedents." Globe and Mail