The Quarrel of Roberval

Original title: Querelle de Roberval

Author: Lambert, Kevin

Publication Date:

September 2018



Original language and publisher

French | Héliotrope


Literary Fiction

The Quarrel of Roberval

Original title: Querelle de Roberval

Author: Lambert, Kevin

  • 2 Seas represents: Dutch and Nordic countries Rights.
  • Rights sold: France (Nouvel Attila), English (Biblioasis).
  • Winner of the Prix Sade 2019- Longlisted for the Prix de Médicis 2019 and Prix Wepler – Fondation La Poste 2019. Shortlisted for Le Monde literary prize and the Quebec Bookseller Prize 2019


A Molotov cocktail thrown through the glass window of capitalism and patriarchy, but also through the spotless windows of those always thinking that they are on the right side.Le Devoir

A corrosive social critique lifted by a lyrical and powerful style. — La Presse

A poetic ode with a provocative and irreverent tone that reminds of Jean Genet or Edouard Louis. — Thierry Calmont, Magasine La tribu Move

The employees of the Roberval sawmill are on strike. Behind the seemingly cohesive conflict, we quickly discover everyone’s more personal demands.

At first, the employees share the same desire to escape extreme poverty and get revenge from Brian Ferland, their boss who plays dirty tricks and attacks, poisons and burns the strikers cold-heartedly. After a year of strike, these despicable attacks feed a rage buried deep inside the workers and the situation, as well as the story, take a dangerous turn. Madness takes hold of the strikers, who join the infernal round dance of Querelle, a character inspired by Jean Genet’s protagonist in the famous novel Querrel.

Here, he has been copied and pasted into the Quebec landscape, a chaotic element that becomes sand in a well-oiled economical, heterosexual and patriarchal machine. And then, there is no stopping them. They break glass bottles on the beach, and take care of their business with baseball bats. And they do worse, much worse: they reach the Worst, like they would get to an island in the middle of the lac Saint- Jean, and they wallow into it. Enough with employers!

Born in 1992, Kevin Lambert spent his childhood in Chicoutimi. You would love what you have killed (Héliotrope 2017) was selected for the Prix des libraires and won the award for the prix Discovery Prize of Saguenay–Lac-Saint- Jean’s Book Fair.

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