Review: Life in the Court of Matane – 9781771860765

Review: Life in the Court of Matane – 9781771860765

Title: Life in the Court of Matane
Author: Eric Dupont
Translated by: Peter McCambridge
ISBN: 9781771860765
Price: $19.95
Publisher: QC Fiction

Life in the Court of Matane is the translation of Bestiaire first published in French by Marchand de feuilles.

Review by Nathalie Peron

Life in the Court of Matane is a slice of life in the Gaspé Peninsula, end of 70’s, early 80’s with all its political, cultural and economic implications that serve as a canvas for this autobiographical novel where we are let into his childhood broken-home.

In his third novel, narrated in the first person by Eric Dupont himself as a child, we witness ten years of a grieving child’s life, split between the father and the step-mother figure on the one side (or Henry VIII’s court, if you will) and the mother on the other while trying to assimilate the world around him and make as little waves as possible; exercise he compares to the gymnastic event of uneven bars where the award in the end, if successful, is acceptance by those around him, especially figures in authority.

Despite the emotional angst and while generally remaining within what is (or could be) actually real, Dupont sometimes steps over those bounds into the surreal of what could maybe be, from the point of view of a kid, making this book most entertaining and a definite must-read.

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