Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon
Nominated for a Governor General's Award for Translation
Yesterday, on my way back from the museum: my head is full of images of storms. A boundless sea of paintings and photographs. Other storms I build like a backdrop, with sombre and anonymous characters, impossible to identify. I remain thus all evening, pressed up against the existence of a storm without feeling threatened. Waiting. After a few moments I become, I am, the storm, the disruption, the precipitation, the agitation that puts reality in peril.
Carla Carlson is at the Hotel Clarendon in Quebec City trying to finish a novel. Nearby, a woman, preoccupied with sadness and infatuated with her boss, catalogues antiquities at the Museum of Civilization. Every night, the two women meet at the hotel bar and talk – about childhood and parents and landscapes, about time and art, about Descartes and Francis Bacon and writing.
When Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon appeared in French (as Hier), the media called it the pinnacle of Brossard’s remarkable forty-year literary career. From its intersection of four women emerges a kind of art installation, a lively read in which life and death and the vertigo of ruins tangle themselves together to say something about history and desire and art.
‘Hier is a book in which the love of language, authorial anxiety and the generosity of a writer who has dedicated herself to the craft of writing are truly revealed. ’
– Le Devoir
‘An explorer of language, Brossard has, for many years, pursued a demanding and unarguably original oeuvre. Hier, her latest book, is a kind of sum or synthesis of her research and her meditations. ’
– Lettres Québécoises