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Johnny

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Original Language: French | 208 pp. | September 2017

2 Seas represents: Dutch, Nordic countries, and English (USA) Rights.

LITERARY FICTION

Two misfits who want to flee the emptiness of their origins.

North America. The post-war years. The American dream is in full swing. Everyone is invited. And of course for some, obstacles encountered along the way lead to prosperity and happiness.

Such is the case of Johnny, born on an Indian reserve planted between Montreal and Quebec City. To escape this poverty, Johnny moves to Montreal. With his dusky complexion and dark eyes, he is able to pass himself off as an Italian and begins to do the dirty work for petty criminals. A little smuggling before moving on to much riskier business.

For Valentine, the path is shorter. To get away from the mind-numbing life in her shabby neighborhood, she simply competes in a beauty pageant. She knows that she is beautiful and does not hesitate to employ her charms. Her blonde hair and light eyes turn men’s heads. Johnny is not immune.

Nothing, neither flight nor renunciations and sacrifice, will interrupt the one-way journey they have undertaken in an effort to change their life. This is the uneasy legacy they will pass on to their children.

Catherine Eve Groleau teaches French literature in Montreal. She wrote some short stories before this first novel, Johnny.