Gabrielle Roy: A Passion for Writing.


158 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-1-894852-25-8
DDC C843'.3





Reviewed by Gregory Bryan

Gregory Bryan is a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.


Having penned such highly regarded books as The Tin Flute and Children of My Heart, Gabrielle Roy is one of this country’s most esteemed authors. André Vanasse’s biography of Roy’s life is an interesting read.


While Vanasse’s voice is appropriately strong throughout the book, his presence in the narrative is often a distraction. I had difficulty accepting that, in Vanasse’s one evening as an initially uninvited guest at Roy’s house, Roy shared so much intimate detail. If she did so, it seems at odds with Vanasse’s portrait of Roy as a largely private, reclusive person. Furthermore, it is difficult to believe that Vanasse could so accurately recall, verbatim, all of the things Roy supposedly shared with her guest that evening.


The book deals with mature subject matter and is written in a manner that will have limited appeal to any but mature readers. As such, I think Gabrielle Roy: A Passion for Writing has a limited audience among younger readers. Upper high school students with a particular interest in Roy’s life, however, will find much of interest between the covers of this short biography. The book includes often-intimate biographical details, and a selection of black-and-white photographs. At book’s end, the publishers have inserted a comprehensive chronology of Roy’s life and the times in which she lived. This is a flesh-and-blood biography and the reader certainly gets a sense of Roy as a real, very human, person. Recommended with reservations.


Vanasse, AndrĂ©., “Gabrielle Roy: A Passion for Writing.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,