Governor General's Literary Awards

Ferdinand F., 81 ans, chenille

Ferdinand F., 81 ans, chenille

By Mario Brassard

Soulières éditeur; distributed by Messageries ADP



Ferdinand F. is a man with two lives. His first, stretching from 1924 to 2005, is a long string of opportunities not taken. He trudges through the key events of the 20th century at a caterpillar’s pace. An eternal teenager at heart, Ferdinand F. is slow, almost paralyzed. Suspended between laughter and tears, he fails to realize most of his dreams, and when he does succeed, the dream is short lived. For an awkward soul like Ferdinand, happiness is always a little painful. In his second life, which is more complicated to relate, he embraces friendship and, after a number of surprising detours, proves it’s never too late to reinvent yourself—and maybe even become a hero. Both funny and sad, Ferdinand F., 81 ans, chenille is the story of a metamorphosis that’s long overdue.

"A true masterpiece: the story of Ferdinand F., an old man forgotten by society, surviving more than living. Mario Brassard’s deeply moving novel, written in poetic prose and with astounding humour, explores loneliness, but also the friendship that can come into our lives when we least expect it."

Peer assessment committee: Simon Boulerice, Michèle Laframboise, Hada López

Mario Brassard
Photo: Peter Parker


Mario Brassard was born in 1978 in Sainte-Flore, in Quebec’s Mauricie region. A poet and children’s author, he has published three collections of poetry with Les Herbes Rouges. All were finalists for the Governor General’s Award. Le livre clairière, his latest collection, won him the 2012 Émile-Nelligan prize. He is the author of four children’s novels published by Soulières, including La saison des pluies (Libraires du Québec young writers award and the 2012 TD Award; finalist for the 2011 Governor General’s Award), Quand hurle la nuit (finalist for the 2016 Governor General’s Award), and Ferdinand F., 81 ans, chenille. He lives in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, in Quebec’s Lanaudière region.

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