About this book
Thunder and Light
Marie-Claire Blais • Nigel Spencer
Originally published in 2001, Thunder and Light is the second volume in Marie-Claire Blais’s prize-winning Soifs series, hailed as one of the greatest undertakings in modern Quebec fiction. Powered by its characters’ gripping exploration of the world’s dark corners, the novel is a teeming microcosm in which boundaries collapse and the extremes and contradictions that animate our times are reconciled.
Blais locks us directly into the consciousness of her characters, many of whom we met in her previous novel, These Festive Nights, and many that she derives from actual news stories: Jessica, a seven-year-old attempting to beat the world record as the youngest pilot to cross the continent; Nathanaël, a teenager on death row for killing his favourite teacher; Our Lady of the Bags, a modern-day Joan of Arc who lives among Manhattan’s skyscrapers and follows the voices in her head; and Caroline and Jean-Mathieu, aging artists who are fighting to come together again. One character’s thoughts or actions have consequences for another 3,000 miles away who is a complete stranger to the first.
This is an intricate house of cards, delicately but expertly constructed, that shocks us in its perversity and familiarity, ultimately finding hope and redemption in the most human and basic forms of art.
About the Creators
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.