Raymond Bock, Atavisms, Trans. by Pablo Strauss, Dalkey Archive Press, 2015.
Atavisms is an original and unsettling portrait of Quebec, from the hinterland to the metropolis, from colonial times to the present, and beyond. These thirteen stories, though not linked in the traditional sense, abound in common threads. Like family traits passed down through the generations, the attitudes and actions of a rich cast of characters reverberate, quietly but deeply, over generations. Here is a group portrait of the individual lives that together shape a collective history. Atavaisms has been shortlisted for the 2014 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature.
“These thirteen ‘histories’—an unlucky number—can be read as individual stories. But they also bear a troubling family resemblance and a collective unity.” —Le Devoir
“Bock’s striking stories traverse Quebec history to reveal the DNA of our collective unease.” —La Presse