Reviewed by: Jen
Page count: 416 Pages
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
In stock: Yes (in bargain and everything!)
My husband came out of his home office as I was reading this book over breakfast at the kitchen table to see what was causing so much outward laughter. In this particular instance, it was a scene between The Girl Who Was Saturday Night’s protagonist Noushka and her grandfather Loulou, while they were visiting Loulou’s deceased wife’s grave. It is one of many laugh-out-loud moments I cherished throughout the entire book’s read – and not the only one that brought humour to life situations not typically considered funny.
In The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, Heather O’Neill writes about family, life, death, abandonment, strife, love, sex in a way that is at once endlessly deep but also plain like one might about such daily things as getting groceries or walking the dog. Her use of metaphor slaps you in the face, surprising and provocative. Montreal native O’Neill uses the gritty side of her hometown as the novel’s backdrop for this coming of age story about twin siblings Noushka and Nicolas Tremblay. The twins live with Loulou in a small flat on St. Laurent Blvd, and are the children of a legendary Quebecois folksinger who darts in and out of their lives, and of the story. We, the reader, root for Noushka as she tries to free herself of the confines of the apartment she’s been in her whole life, and start a new path, independent of Nicolas, Loulou and her father.
This read enchanted me with exceptionally memorable lines, such as ‘You should beware of motherless children. They will eat you alive. You will never be loved by anyone the way that you will be loved by a motherless child.’ and ‘We confused the indoors with intimacy and electric heating with connection. Every night seemed like the last night because we would all freeze to death shortly.’ Such writing garnered the book and O’Neill a place on the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist. It’s the kind of unique voice that sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading.
If you’re a fan of irreverent Canadian fiction that melds humor and heartbreak in a fresh and captivating way, this book can currently be found on our discount fiction table – a refreshing read and a great deal!