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And the Birds Rained Down 

By Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda Mullins (Coach House)

“Love, wandering, pain, the deep woods and redemption through art.” Leave it to a French-Canadian author to create a story that grinds your insides to pulp and leaves you wanting more. Nostalgic and beautifully grotesque, this novel is delightfully baroque and, although short, so striking it simply will never leave you. And the Birds Rained Down, translated from French, is a haunting portrayal of a strange community of men—most over 80—who’ve chosen to live out their last years in the woods of northern Ontario. Everything changes when their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of two women—one who becomes enamoured with a story, another with a man—and the death of an “open wound” who leaves behind a painted legacy. A parable of second chances, independence and ultimately love, expertly centred around the Great Fires of early 20th-century northern Ontario, this novella will awe you.

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Vol 25, No 21
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