International audiences are starting to get a taste of 1919 provincial Rivière-du-Loup thanks to a translated Quebecois novel, Songs for the Cold of Heart, which is shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
The winner will be announced Monday, and its translator and publisher, Peter McCambridge, said just being nominated has catapulted the work onto the world literary stage.
He was in New York City last week to promote it and next week will be in London, England. It's being reviewed by people who "would never normally pick us up," McCambridge told CBC's Breakaway.
"They're reading the book, they're impressed by the book. It's not just any old book about Quebec," he said.
The story begins in small town Quebec at the end of World War I with one family,and spans a century, bringing readers across different continents.
Songs for the Cold of Heart is just over 600 pages and McCambridge said it took him about 18 months to translate.
He said each chapter reads like a new novel with a different tone and characters.
"Everything's larger than life. It's a fun read," he said.
That's why it would be hard to guess even the original, French title to the novel — La Fiancée Américaine, published in 2012, which has sold 60,000 copies in Quebec.
Dupont, a Montreal-based author, is well known in Quebec literary circles.
He has published several novels in French and is a past winner of Radio-Canada's "Combat des livres" (the equivalent of the CBC's Canada Reads contest).
McCambridge said that being nominated has been huge for publicizing the book and he's excited for the big award show on Monday.
"I can't even start imagining what would happen if we won," he said.
The 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner will be announced on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 on CBC-TV, and will take home the the $140,000 prize.
The one-hour broadcast will be hosted by Rick Mercer and begins at 8 p.m. local time (12:30 a.m. AT/1:00 a.m. NT). You can also watch it online at CBC Books starting at 8:00 p.m. ET or listen to it on CBC Radio One with hosts Shelagh Rogers and Jael Richardson.
With files from CBC's Breakaway