Browse our catalogue of books about and written by Indigenous Peoples in North America

Arachnide Editions

The Body of the Beasts

Written by Audrée Wilhelmy • Translated by Susan Ouriou • Written by Audrée Wilhelmy

Published July 30, 2019 | ISBN 9781487006105
FICTION / Literary

Cover of The Body of the Beasts

Regular price $22.95 CAD

160 pages | 8 in × 5.25 in
Print Format

About this book

The Body of the Beasts

Audrée Wilhelmy • Susan Ouriou • Audrée Wilhelmy

Reminiscent of Gaétan Soucy’s The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Audrée Wilhemy’s The Body of Beasts is a startling, gorgeously written novel that tells the story of the Borya family minding a lighthouse and living in isolation. Their lives are altered when young Osip, peering from the lighthouse gallery he has made his home, sees a woman, Noé, arrives in Sitjaq — her dress scant, her skin curiously scarred, and her manners mysterious and wild.

Noé bears a child, Mie, to Sevastien-Benedikt, the eldest son on whose hunter-gathering the Borya family depends. She lives in a cabin on her own and covers the walls with drawings that allude to her mysterious life. The family’s entrenchment in nature is enthrallingly conveyed in young Mie’s sensuous ability to borrow at will the body of mammals, birds, fish, and insects. Her shape-shifting allows her to know the ways of the natural world, though only to a point. When her own awakening body starts to intrigue her, she asks her uncle Osip to “teach me human sex.”

The Body of the Beasts is an imaginative tour de force, a beautifully described portrait of a world that exists outside of words; an uninhibited and erotic novel that, in the singular tradition of Québécois Boreal Gothic, explores our humanity — and our animal nature.

About the Creators

Audrée Wilhelmy

AUDRÉE WILHELMY was born in 1985 in Cap Rouge, Quebec and now lives in Montreal. She is the winner of France’s Sade Award, has been a finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the Prix France-Québec and the Quebec Booksellers Award. The Body of the Beasts is her third novel and the first to be translated into English.

Susan Ouriou

SUSAN OURIOU is considered to be one of Québec’s finest translators of literary fiction. With Christine Morelli, she has previously translated Fanny Britt’s acclaimed novel Hunting Houses for Arachnide.

Audrée Wilhelmy

AUDRÉE WILHELMY was born in 1985 in Cap Rouge, Quebec and now lives in Montreal. She is the winner of France’s Sade Award, has been a finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the Prix France-Québec and the Quebec Booksellers Award. The Body of the Beasts is her third novel and the first to be translated into English.

Awards and Praise

PRAISE FOR AUDRÉE WILHELMY AND THE BODY OF BEASTS

“A marvel . . . The style is magnificent, the characters unforgettable: Noé, Mie, and Osip are great literary creations. As with all these author’s books, the sensual is omnipresent, and sometimes troubling. The ending is overwhelming, and the chapter on the skinning of a whale is fantastic. Run to buy this book as soon as it arrives at the store!” — Michel Tremblay, Winner of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award

“With a miniaturist’s touch, Audrée Wilhelmy creates a singular universe suffused with sap and silence, at once lush to the limit, smothering and amoral . . . A tour de force of audacity and sensuality achieved unhesitatingly in full-bodied writing that is precise and without misstep. A brilliant novel that explores from on high an aspect of the human condition too often eluded: our own bestiality.” — Le Devoir

PRAISE FOR AUDRÉE WILHELMY AND LES SANGS

Finalist, Prix des lecteurs de l’Hebdo
Finalist, Prix Marie Claire du roman féminin
Finalist, Prix des libraires du Québec
Finalist, Prix France-Québec

PRAISE FOR AUDRÉE WILHELMY AND OSS

Finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award
Longlist, Prix des libraires du Québec