Do you know Massassoit, the old sage of the Wampanoag Nation, Jean-Baptiste Faribault and Jean Baptiste Eugène Laframboise, the French-Canadian adventurers who built the American West, or Uncle Yvan, back from the war when everyone had given up on him, or Aunt Monique of Santa Monica? Did you know that an old Honda was granted the gift of speech, that a big sacred tortoise lived on Boulevard Pie-IX, that a truck from the 1950s had eyes, which could sometimes be sad? This collection of some 30 short essays is written in Serge Bouchard’s hallmark way – with the very tone of his voice. His art may be that of an anthropologist, with a passionate attention to faces and the inexhaustible wealth of stories that humans can tell, and that of a poet, fully confident in the revelatory powers of imagination and language.
“Clothed in nostalgia and the poetry of life, this enlightening essay offers a comprehensive look at the relations between the North American landmass and the people who populate it. Its colourful language combines with the tenderness of its gaze in celebration of history, both minor and major.”
- Peer assessment committee
Serge Bouchard wins his first Governor General's Literary Award in 2017 for Les Yeux tristes de mon camion. With degrees in anthropology from both McGill and Laval, he is passionate about history and Indigeneity. In his broadcasting career, he has hosted flagship shows on Radio-Canada Première such as De remarquables oubliés, Une épinette noire nommée Diesel and, for 16 years, Les Chemins de travers. He currently co-hosts C'est fou with Jean-Philippe Pleau. He is a prolific writer who has authored some 20 books, including L'homme descend de l'ourse, Récits de Mathieu Mestokosho, chasseur innu and C'était au temps des mammouths laineux. Widely considered as one of the most original Francophone writers of our time, he received the 2015 Gérard-Morisset award for lifetime achievement, and was named an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec the following year. Serge Bouchard was born in Montreal in 1947.
Photo: Pedro Ruiz