Book Review: My October

Blog page

My October is filled with #CanLit goodness. Filled with it! It offers a story weaving and revealing so many layers and complexities, there is much on offer inside these pages. From the opening pages I was immediately drawn into it. And as  I continued reading, I marvelled at the many layers and the complexity of Luc, Hugo and Hannah’s lives and how they were drawn into the history and politics dating back to the 70s up to the present. With a deft and lovely pen, Holden Rothman takes us on a journey through the FLQ and October Crisis from 1970, separatism, marriage between an Anglo and Quebecois, involvement and/or perspective of both the Anglo and Quebecois in the October Crisis and the current political situation in Quebec (Montreal here). Truly, a well organized and written novel.

Luc Lévesque is a celebrated Quebec novelist and the anointed Voice of a Generation. In his hometown of Montreal, he is revered as much for his novels about the working-class neighbourhood of Saint-Henri as for his separatist views. But this is 2001. The dreams of a new nation are dying, and Luc himself is increasingly dissatisfied with his life.

Hannah is Luc’s wife. She is also the daughter of a man who served as a special prosecutor during the October Crisis. For years, Hannah has worked faithfully as Luc’s English translator. She has also spent her adult life distancing herself from her English- speaking family. But at what cost?

Hugo is their troubled fourteen-year-old son. Living in the shadow of a larger-than-life father, Hugo is struggling with his own identity. In confusion and anger, he commits a reckless act that puts everyone around him on a collision course with the past.

Weaving together three unique voices, My October is a masterful tale of a modern family torn apart by the power of language and the weight of history. Spare and insightful, Claire Holden Rothman’s new novel explores the fascinating and sometimes shocking consequences of words left unsaid.

Just look at all those layers and layers and complexities being offered. A true literary treat. Again, here in My October, Holden Rothman has deftly weaved the history, politics and the perspectives of all tangled within them into this tale. I certainly hope to see this one reach the Longlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize this year.

Thank you very much to Penguin Canada (now Penguin Random House Canada right?) and Netgalley for allowing us the opportunity to read My October.

Literary Hoarders Penny rev