photo by Steve McCormack
Eyes of Water
a novel by Pauline Michel
Jonathan Kaplansky, translator
Release: May 2006
120 pp, 5.5 x 8.5, trade paperback
Broken Jaw Press
• select media/review copy mailout
• author readings and appearances: League of Canadian POETS' AGM/PoetryFest, Ottawa (June 2006); Edmonton Poetry Week, Sept 2006
Eyes of Water is a translation from the French of Pauline Michel’s novel Les yeux d’eau (Granby: Éditions Gaudet, 1975. Outremont: Lanctôt Éditeur, 2002 reprint).
Sara has escaped from a psychiatric hospital. She is seeking the man with whom she had lived in perfect harmony before he disappeared from her life. The amnesiac has forgotten his face, but the nape of his neck and his hair are embedded in her memory, leaving a profound impression, veritable trails she desperately tries to follow. In her love-struck delirium, among her fragments of memory, she interprets as signs of the disappeared the behaviour of the mysterious cat who follows her and her relationships with people fate places along her way: a death-obsessed painter, a child who carries her beloved’s name, and an old man who finally brings her back to the place where her past is pieced together. Her breathlessness punctuates her obsessive quest and leads the reader into a whirlpool of strange emotions, at times disturbing for anyone who has experienced breakup, wrenching loss, and the chaos these painful events unleash in the heart and mind.
About Les yeux d’eau
“What struck me when I read Les yeux d’eau were the author’s sentences. Brief, so brief and so poetic that the reader is often tempted to close the book to let him or herself be carried away by the dream. Is that still possible in this day and age?”
—Jean-François Crépeau, Le Canada français
“A text that is literally spellbinding, of sustained interest, rich with allusion. An amazing mastery of this type of writing”
—Jacques Blais, critic and professor, Université Laval
“Her words become circles, imaginary shapes floating in space. She sculpts them the way
a potter would make a vase appear from a mass of earth.”
—Yvon Paré, Le Quotidien
“The private world of poetry, the public world of acting, all is a means to convey the word. A word that is intense, visionary, but above all communicative. Pauline is to the word what a source is to water.”
—Sophie Gironnay, Châtelaine
• • •
“Pauline Michel expresses, in very modern writing containing a rare poetic intensity, the anxiety of living in today’s world.”
“Michel, to our everlasting gratitude, is now teaching us all, through her novels, her poems, her children’s stories and her plays. She embodies the essence of artistic endeavour and achievement, and I welcome her appointment.”
—Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons, Ottawa
About the Author
Pauline Michel is an author, playwright, actress, singer, teacher and the Poet Laureate of Canada. Michel received a Bachelor of Education from Université de Sherbrooke, a teacher’s certificate from the École normale Marguerite Bourgeois, and a licence ès lettres modernes from Université Laval. Michel was one of the originators of the television series La Maison de Ouimzie. She has written scripts for broadcasts by Radio-Canada, Télé-Métropole, TV Ontario and Télé-Québec. She has been a lyricist for the young people’s series Hello Moineau, which was broadcast in Québec, France, Switzerland and North Africa. Michel has published a number of books, including the novels Les yeux d’eau, Mirage, poetry L’oeil sauvage; a philosophical allegory Le papillon de Vénus; songbooks Hello Moineau, Voyez comme ils s’aiment, Le tour du monde and children’s tales, including one for the series Passe-Partout. Her many performances of poems and songs, especially in France, garnered her laudatory reviews and recognition. Oral poetry has become an important part of her life.
Is that you, Vincent?, a translation by Jonathan Kaplansky of the first chapter of her novel Les yeux d’eau, was published by Broken Jaw's SpareTime Editions in 2005.
About the Translator
Jonathan Kaplansky works as a literary translator in Ottawa, Ontario. A native of New Brunswick, he spent his early childhood in Saint John before moving to Montreal. He completed master’s degrees at both the University of Ottawa and at McGill. He has translated works by Hélène Rioux, Hélène Dorion, Michel Cormier, and Hervé Dumont. Let Rest his translation of Que repose by Acadian poet Serge Patrice Thibodeau was published by Broken Jaw Press in 2005.
© copyright Joe Blades/Broken Jaw Press Inc. 2005.