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Book cover for Galumpf, by Marie Hélène Poitras


By Marie Hélène Poitras

Éditions Alto

“The experiences and loves of the inhabitants of our world, whether they be human or animal, are exposed herein with depth and nuance. This collection of short stories filled with significant imagery creates ties between the living, their environments and the resulting impacts. Both the throughline and each of the short stories are traversed by a luminous narrative fluidity.”

—Peer assessment committee: Danielle Dussault, Tassia Trifiatis-Tezgel and Edem Awumey


Love is born in the belly of a church or dies at the end of all the nights. A little girl attempts to tame an enormous dog while her neighbours keep an eye open. A man loves a woman through a horse; a radio host is confronted with silence; islanders struggle between boredom and rage; a writer remembers her first words.

In her characteristic cutting and poetic language, Marie Hélène Poitras questions the way humans and animals give to and take from each other, and the comprises that are needed for all to get along. A collection that breathes deep, prowling at the intersection of injuries, desire, egoism and attentiveness—the very area where empathy takes shape.

Marie Hélène Poitras poses on a snowy day.


Marie Hélène Poitras is a writer, journalist and editor. Fascinated by the ties that exist between music, words and images, by the art of storytelling and larger-than-life characters, she invents singular worlds carried by prolific writing. She received the Anne Hébert award for her first novel, Soudain le Minotaure (Triptyque, 2002), published again by Alto in 2022 as an anniversary edition with a new postface. Her collection of short stories, La mort de Mignonne et autres histoires (Alto, CODA, 2017) was a finalist for the Prix des libraires du Québec. Whereas Griffintown (France-Québec prize and finalist for the Ringuet prize) was inspired by her experience as a coach driver in Old Montréal, La desiderata is a spellbinding fable about violence against women. Galumpf is her fifth book with Alto. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, she grew up in Aylmer and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and now lives in Montréal, Quebec.

Photo: Charles-Olivier Michaud

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