Book Review: My October by Claire Holden Rothman

Book Review: My October by Claire Holden Rothman

LiQ_Mag_Dec_2014This book review first appeared in the December 2014 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.

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My October
By Claire Holden Rothman
ISBN: 9780143188674
Price: $22.95
Published by Penguin Canada

“‘Sometimes,’ he read, squinting in the weak light from the overhead, ‘one imagines that one’s past has disappeared leaving no memory, like a cloud that has drifted apart in the sky.

But that is an illusion.

One has only to be immobilized for a few weeks (in prison, for example) to find one’s past again and relive it in its smallest details.’

LiQ_Mag_Abonnez-vous”The boy reading this sentence from Pierre Vallière’s Nègres blancs d’Amérique is fourteen years old. He too has been brought to a standstill, forced into an after-school history project as punishment for bringing a gun onto the premises of his private school.

His name is Hugo Lévesque.

Confused and angry and anxious to learn more about his grandfather’s role in the October Crisis, he will go by a different name at school, a name his nationalist father cannot even pronounce: Hugh Stern.

My October is the story of Hugo, his father Luc, and his mother Hannah. It is an intensely readable page-turner as Claire Holden Rothman builds quite the cast of characters, each with their own parallels and echoes to Quebec’s political and cultural past and present, without ever falling into caricature or blunt political fiction.

Review by Peter McCambridge

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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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