Wildlives

Wildlives - Monique Proulx, David Homel, Fred A. Reed I'm glad I read this in what I think was a very good translation; my grasp of French wouldn't be nearly good enough to deal with the delicacy of the language, the subtlety of the imagery. Everybody who appears in this animated landscape is profoundly affected by it, but the effect is intriguingly dependent on the character of the person involved.

Proulx is no sentimentalist about nature; there are disturbing depictions of animal suffering and death in this novel, as well as appreciations of the more harmonious elements of nature in the Laurentians. Nor is she a sentimentalist about the politics of development. One of the major characters in the novel, an elderly woman named Lila, is unalterably opposed to the development of her property, even to the denial of her own conscience (I'll leave the spoiler there) - but Proulx makes clear by a sting in the epilogue that her determination cannot survive her passing, and the young boy she has recruited as her successor - wounded by his own trauma - eventually betrays her.

It's an almost impossible novel to summarize, either as to plot or to theme, but I do recommend it.