Book review: 8.17PM, RUE DARLING

Book review: 8.17PM, RUE DARLING

LiQ_Mag_Cover_July2014This article first appeared in the July 2014 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.
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8:17 PM, RUE DARLING
By Bernard Émond (translated by John Gilmore)
ISBN: 9781550718461
Price: $20
Published by Guernica Editions

I will be amazed if it takes you more than two sittings to get through Bernard Émond’s 8:17 PM, RUE DARLING in John Gilmore’s masterful translation. There’s something so assured and natural about the voice (which has more than a touch of the Raymond Chandlers about it) that you’ll be hooked from the first sentence (“My name is Gérard and I’m an alcoholic.”)

“Life is complicated, drinking is simple” you’ll learn as you follow the jaded ex-beat reporter on his search for answers when an untied shoelace unexpectedly saves his life.

As so often with Chandler, it’s difficult to watch events unfold without adding our own soundtrack of beating rain and atmospheric jazz. The characters have runny noses. They’re a little worn out, a little rough around the edges. None more so than our narrator. There are alcoholics, dirty dishes to be done, three ex-wives, and gallons of maudite booze… It doesn’t take much of a leap to picture Gérard narrating events off screen with a rasp to his voice and a smoker’s cough.

It’s droll. It’s French-infused Montréal noir.

Do yourself a favour: save it for a rainy day and savour every word.

Reviewed by Peter McCambridge, QuebecReads.com for Life in Québec Magazine.

About Author

Peter McCambridge

Peter McCambridge is originally from Ireland and has lived in Québec City for 11 years now. He translates novels and tourism articles. Peter is currently translating his sixth novel.

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