Original title: Les hôtes
”The Hosts keeps the reader on the edge of his seat. Myriam Ouellette has a skillful pen that understands the complexity of situations, interactions and emotions. This brilliant novel is about much more than the unwanted visit of rodents and brings us back to that home, that illusory place that we too often seek between four walls rather than within ourselves.”— Josée-Anne Paradis, Les Libraires
”Of course, infestation is a fairly common experience that I’ve had twice. However, what interested me in this rather anecdotal storyline—besides the advantage of a narrative progression close to the thriller—was that it allowed me to bring to light certain issues related to the question of ‘the habitat’. What does it mean to inhabit a body, a house, a planet, an imagination, a memory? Do we inhabit or are we inhabited? The novel, for example, questions the cut between the inside and the outside. The characters discover that what they thought was a safe place is in fact always, for better or for worse, a porous place. Rather than a clear boundary separating the inside and the outside, there will be in the novel, nested within each other, a series of overlapping interiorities that telescope from the psychic depths to the celestial vault.”— Myriam Ouellette
A compelling first novel written with breathtaking mastery, filled with references and symbols. A captivating read for the mysteries it conceals and the all too real dynamics between characters. A subtle, yet surprising story that leaves the reader wide-eyed and breathless, watchful of what is lurking in the shadows.
In Virginie’s mind, their small apartment was already tight for a family of four. Add in a mouse, and it’s simply unbearable. As the scratching behind the walls intensifies, the tension rises. Paul doesn’t see it as a major problem. First of all, are we sure that we saw a small rodent walking through the living room? The exterminator seems to say that there are no convincing signs of infestation. But despite everything they try, the unwanted visitors refuse to leave. As the forced cohabitation persists the question becomes: who is really hosting whom?
Driven out of their family nest, Paul and Virginie are involuntarily thrown into an examination of how a home can protect you. The Hosts sees itself as a philosophical fable in a minor key (in the manner of Huysmans) on the struggles of living, of seeking shelter from the elements, of reconciling real space and imagined space.