Michel Tremblay


177 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-88894-304-0





Reviewed by Ian C. Nelson

Ian C. Nelson is Assistant Director of Libraries at the University of


Renate Usmiani gives one of the most penetrating academic analyses of the work of Tremblay in her book. She is thorough, touching on even such minor works as Les Socles, yet — strangely — in spite of a copyright date of 1982, she makes no mention of the later titles. This is, of course, the problem of any critique of a living, evolving writer; still, it is surprising not to see included at least L‘Impromtu d’Outremont and Les Anciennes Odeurs, hardly too recent for consideration and certainly marking a new state in Tremblay’s development. Let this not detract, however, from the depth of Usmiani’s study of the opus up to Damnée Manon, Sacrée Sandra. Her analysis of the levels of social, sexual, and political implications in each work is excellent. Nor does she neglect the formal and classic aspects of writing the drama, the novel, or the short story. She gives a quite profound exposé of the peculiar Québécois sacre and her general linguistic consciousness is no less worthy. She appears to have done her own translations of the quoted passages — always given in the original and in English — although, in spite of her discernment of the difficulties of translation, she doesn’t always improve upon the standard published translations of Tremblay. All in all, Usmiani has provided a benchmark text with — alas — an implied criticism therein, that the scholarly style is redolent of the dissertation. And there still remain to be explored comparisons with such latter-day Québec dramas of “la maudite vie plate” as the recently vice-regally crowned Avec l’hiver qui s’envient.


Usmiani, Renate, “Michel Tremblay,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38669.