Inspired by Erik Satie’s work of the same name, Sports and Pastimes is the first novel by acclaimed Montreal playwright and author Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard to appear in English.
Translated by Aimee Wall, this fast-paced story follows the daily life, at once empty and overloaded, of a group of friends who spend all their energy trying to distract themselves with huge hits of endorphins, art and various substances, navigating pleasure and boredom, the extraordinary and the banal, as (more or less) worthy representatives of the best and worst of what their era has to offer. Consider a mashup of Girls and Less Than Zero and you are pretty close to the fun and games of Sports and Pastimes.
Praise for Sports and Pastimes (Sports et divertissements):
“The novel of rich, apathetic youth has been done so often that it has almost become a genre of its own, but rarely has it been written in Quebec with such mastery of its codes as by Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard.”
—Dominic Tardif, La Presse
“If the body is an obstacle to feelings or emotions, we must emphasize the strength of the interiority of the characters.” —Jeremi Perrault, Spirale
“Guérard’s short sentences (in Aimee Wall’s translation) turn on a dime, crisply characterizing both the shallow, rich youth who move in these circles and the narrator, who loves to hate them.” —Bardia Sinaee, Quill and Quire
“In her excellent translation of the novel, Aimee Wall chooses to retain certain elements of Québécois inflection, expressions and turns of phrase that don’t necessarily make sense in English. The result is a greater intimacy for the reader, as if one were listening to the voice of a woman who is fluently bilingual, who has a trace of an accent, and who assumes that as she speaks, the reader will know what she means.” —Vincent Tinguely, Montreal Review of Books
“Readers might be tempted to include this novel among a genre of disaffected techno-youth novels, but Sports and Pastimes is already bored with the cult of youth and even more uninterested in the endless hand wringing critiques that dominated the turn of the century. ” —Atlantic Books Today
Born in Plessisville, Quebec, Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard has published two novels in French: Royal and Sports et divertissements (longlisted for the 2014 Prix des librairies). Baril Guérard also co-authored the novel Les cicatrisés de Saint-Sauvignac, stories of water slides and Ménageries, a collection of illustrated tales—both
published by Les Éditions de ta Mère. He has written a number of plays, including Quatre Contes Crades / La damné de Lachine and other crazed tales, and Baiseries, and wrote and directed Tranche-Cul/Cut-Throat, a play presented at Montreal’s Théâtre Espace Libre in December 2014 and in London, UK, in 2016.
Newfoundland-native Aimee Wall is a writer and translator. Her essays, short fiction, and criticism have appeared in numerous publications, including Maisonneuve, Matrix Magazine, the Montreal Review of Books, and Lemon Hound. Wall’s latest translation is of Vickie Gendreau’s Testament (BookThug, 2016). She lives in Montreal.
October 25 , 2017 | Fiction | Literature in Translation
8×5.25 inches | 208 pages
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