The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant

The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant

by Michel Tremblay

It is the glorious second day of May, 1942.

Next door to the home that is by times refuge, asylum, circus-arena, confessional and battleground to her extended family, with ancient roots in both rural Quebec and the primordial land of the Saskatchewan Cree, stands an immaculately kept but seemingly empty house where the fates, Rose, Mauve, Violet and their mother Florence, only ever fleetingly and uncertainly glimpsed by those in a state of emotional extremis, are knitting the booties of what will become the children of a whole new nation.In this first of six novels that became his Chronicles of the Plateau Mont Royal, Tremblay allows his imagination free reign, fictionalizing the lives of his beloved characters, dramatized so brilliantly in his plays and remembered so poignantly in his memoirs.The fat woman both is and is not Michel Tremblays motherher extended family and neighbours more than a symbol of a colonized people: abandoned and mocked by France; conquered and exploited by England; abused and terrorized by the Church; and forced into a war by Canada supporting the very powers that have crushed their spirit and twisted their souls since time immemorial.

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J'ai failli laisser tomber le livre, que je trouvais plate à mort, jusqu'à la page 100 environ où j'ai trouvé qu'il commencait vraiment à se passer quelque chose.

C'est plein de personnages (on s'y perd un peu parfois, je l'avoue) tous plus sympathiques et irritants les uns que les autres.

It felt really authentic and I was surprised that it was written thirty years after it was set. For all the pregnancies for me it was obvious it was written by a man.

My favorite part of the book was getting an insight into the viewpoints of different people in Montreal in the 40s, particularly about the war that none of them wanted.

Mercedes and Beatriz are the "chippies" of the neighbourhood,after having worked in the garment industries like slaves realize it is easier money to turn tricks, at one point they( or one of them) bring home three drunken sailors,who after passing out they go through their pockets and roll them find $52.00 off course they are filled with fear that they may return, and for that reason are looking for a place to stay overnight so the sailors wont find them Ti-Lou,a seperate book could be written about her,she had been introduced to Sarah Bernardt! Duplessis surely my favourite character in the book, an arrogant cat, who's owner Marie-Sylvia ( who does not wear shoes as these could never be seen behind the counter!) treats him like a baby, but only when he allows her to do so, in fact he does not like her at all, and only gets on her lap, and purrs when he knows there will be some special food in it for him, he loves Marcel, who sometimes goes into the parc and playes, one day Duplessis is off to the park but meets the dog Godbout, who attacks him and battles him close to death, until he manages to get home crawl under the porch were he is found by Marcel who takes him to one of the knitting ladies, one floor up. We end up home with everyone present a wonderful soup has been prepared by Albertine, (Edouard's Sister,who dislikes the chippies, lo and behold Mercedes and Beatriz arrive and Albertine refuses to serve them, however Victoire insists they stay, and that she will ladle out the soup, the meal concluded Victoire's brother tells the story about hauling the moon out on a daily basis, at this point I am desperately looking to see what has happened to my beloved Duplessis, well he is on the lap of one of the knitters one floor up and even though blood crusted and smelly falls asleep, and I can only hope Duplessis gets well.

The book is apparently one of a bunch, that together draw a portrait of a neighbourhood. As a piece of sociology, it is certainly interesting, but I hope not accurate, as the neighbourhood is composed of people who are perpetually angry, mean, narrow minded and fearful. The last third of the book, that takes place on a day in Lafontaine Park, almost reads like another novel entirely; people are actually nice to each other. I wonder if Tremblay would have written the same way nowadays when we are more conscious of how dysfunction passes down the generations. The only evocative writing is Josaphat's moon story. I think the book, and the rest of the set, are popular because there isn't much competition for stories about life in "balconville".

Michel Tremblays passion for his beginnings is shared with us through a day in the life of the residents of la rue Fabre in the heart of Montreal in the 40s, with the fat lady next door paying homage to his beloved mother. By the end of the story youre sure to have a fondness in your heart for the fat woman next door.

The action of the novel takes place in a Montreal neighbourhood on one day, May 2, 1942. The colourful cast of characters includes three generations of a working class family all crowded together in one household, grandmother Victoire, her three children: homosexual Edouard; Albertine, the mother of 11 year-old Therese and four-year old Marcel; Gabriel, his bedridden fat pregnant wife, and their sons Richard and Phillippe.

En 1964, il participe au Concours des jeunes auteurs de Radio-Canada, avec une pièce de théâtre intitulée Le train, et remporte le premier prix. En 2006, il remporte le Grand Prix Metropolis bleu pour l'ensemble de son uvre.