The only translated book on the short-list was The Party Wall, written by Catherine Leroux and translated by Laser Lederhendler. It is a book that has kept me puzzling over the relationships and time frames of the plot lines and left me feeling that I would like to read it again to capture all the nuances. Catherine read a section on the characters of Ariel and Marie as they met – and fainted – for the first time.
Leroux shared that she is inspired by poetry of which there is something “flourishing within poetry that helps me get going”. She enjoys Quebecois poetry yet and shared a couple of names which I was not able to capture to share. She noted that she does not write any poetry herself.
Leroux does not write with a particular reader in mind but tends to “write what interests me”. She is fascinated with “humanity and the human experience” and 3 of 4 storylines in The Party Wall have come from watching the news. She hears interesting stories and wants to “imagine what it would be like” in these situations allowing these sparks to grow into a novel. She also shared that the title of the book was inspired by acquaintances speaking about renovations and talking about a party wall which “articulated everything”.
I was very happy that the host asked Catherine Leroux about the translation. I was so curious as to why she would have the novel translated by Lederhendler when she herself is a translator. She enlightened the audience that she translates from English to French, her maternal language, so hired Lederhendler to translate from French to English. She spoke of how it seemed quite strange at first, feeling like it was not exactly her book; like “walking into your house but the furniture is shifted, the walls are painted and someone has tried to mess with your head” She finds that “it is a different book than it is in French” and now I might have to encourage my bilingual friend Dominique to read both versions and share her thoughts!
I am excited to have met Catherine Leroux in Toronto and to have a signed copy of The Party Wall. I intend to read it again but have to get through some of my mountainous TBR first!