The Literary Achievement of Gabrielle Roy


38 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-919966-32-2





Reviewed by Alexander Craig

Alexander Craig is a freelance journalist in Lennoxville, Quebec.


Gabrielle Roy, who died in July 1983 at the age of 74, is regarded as one of Canada’s most significant writers of this century. But how much is known about her work? This short study is an excellent introduction.

Allison Mitcham, who teaches English at the Université de Moncton, has given us a well-written and well-organized assessment. She looks at Roy’s Manitoban heritage and at her visions of the North and of Montreal, where she lived for most of the time after 1939. By comparing Roy with her contemporaries and predecessors, both in Canada and abroad, the author shows us many aspects of Roy’s achievements.

The text deals with the translations, whereas the footnotes refer to the original works. This is a problem of little importance, save for the fact it suggests an uncertainty with regard to market. This book seems to be, therefore, for the beginning student rather than the serious scholar. As such, it does an excellent job and is bound to get people reading or re-reading much of Roy’s work. A selected bibliography of works by and on Roy is provided.

The price might seem a bit steep, but it is probably unavoidable. York Press uses the last page to list a number of its other studies of general and comparative literature. It looks an interesting assortment; if the others meet the standard of this sympathetic yet searching study, they’ll be making a useful contribution to literary studies in Canada.


Mitcham, Allison, “The Literary Achievement of Gabrielle Roy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,