The Country Will Bring Us No Peace
A poignant exploration of grief and its aftermath.
Finalist, Governor General's Award for Translation, 2021
Simard wrote one of those books that perfectly suits itself: all of the elements, the prose, the characters, style, the structure, and the gambits work for the feelings and experience it aims to express, right through to the beautiful and haunting ending.
A strange and eerie book about grief; not overcoming it, but being overtaken by it...
A revelation, a dark jewel. A haunting presence.
The novella delivers gut-and-heart-wrenching twists in a language which, throughout, retains a distinctive, elegiac lyricism expertly conveyed in this English translation by Pablo Strauss. This is a special book.
A bleak, strangely poetic narrative full of mystery that explores the darkest corners of human emotion, The Country Will Bring Us No Peace is an outstanding novel with a depressive atmosphere that sticks to your ribs and refuses to let go.
Superbly controlled and imaginatively translated...
Every town has its stories. Dark secrets, accidents, disappearances. I don’t believe in destiny, and I’m sure if we landed somewhere else we would have ended up with a bunch of similar horror stories. Every little town has the same stories, and they’re a lot like our own. We chose this house, we chose to be here, to be far away from our old house. As if distance could change anything. We were wrong, of course. For starters, we chose the wrong spot. Our wounds could never heal here, with a child or without.
I take Marie’s hand. She doesn’t demur. We move forward slowly, admiring the banality of our surroundings. The trees. The road. Plants and houses, insects and concrete, dust suspended in the air. Burgeoning forest, mouldy particle-board over windows. Peeling paint. The village supine on a bed of dead leaves, waiting to die as the greenery gnaws at its extremities.
His eyes are locked on me. I try to back away before he notices, but the creak of the chair rings out through the bar. He leans a little closer toward me. I wonder if he’s trying to make me uncomfortable. Simon doesn’t seem to notice Fisher’s patient advance. We take another sip. Country nights are cool; guys who work at the gas station aren’t shy; Simon seems to be elsewhere; the bar door stays closed.
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