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CanLit150

Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Lisa Moore Recommends

Thunder and Light by Marie-Claire Blais

Thunder and Light (2001)

(From House of Anansi)

Thunder and Light is the second volume in Marie-Claire Blais' prize-winning series (These Festive Nights, Thunder and Light, Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, and Rebecca, Born in the Maelstrom) that has been hailed as one of the greatest undertakings in modern Quebec fiction.

Powered by its characters' gripping exploration of the world's dark corners, Thunder and Light is a teeming microcosm in which boundaries collapse and the extremes and contradictions that animate our times are reconciled. Blais locks us directly into her characters' consciousness, many of whom we met in her previous novel, These Festive Nights, and many that she derives from actual news stories: Jessica, a seven-year-old pilot attempting to beat the world record as the youngest pilot to cross the continent; Nathanael, a teenager on death row for killing his favourite teacher; Our Lady of the Bags, a modern-day Joan of Arc who lives among Manhattan's skyscrapers and follows the voices in her head; and Caroline and Jean-Mathieu, aging artists who are fighting to come together again.

One character's thoughts or actions have consequences for another who is a stranger to the first 3,000 miles away. This is an intricate house of cards, delicately but expertly constructed, that shocks us in its perversity and familiarity, ultimately finding hope and redemption in the most human and basic forms of art.

Marie-Claire Blais

(From House of Anansi)

Marie-Claire Blais is the internationally revered author of more than twenty-five books, many of which have been published around the world. In addition to the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, which she has won four times, Blais has been awarded the Gilles-Corbeil Prize, the Médicis Prize, the Molson Prize, and Guggenheim Fellowships. She divides her time between Quebec and Florida.