HELLO REALITY," cries out Anne Dandurand's intriguing protagonist in The Cracks (Mercury, 144 pages, $11.95 paper) as she bounces back and forth between her fantasies and the "real" world. She is a troubled writer living in Montreal, where she finds herself haunted by an abortion, lost loves, and the entire disgusting world in general.
Writing in the first person, she converses directly with us despite our inability to reply:
Excuse me, I have not only been
making things up, I've been telling
outright lies from the second half of
page 100 .... Leave me alone, I have
every right to smoke here, it's my
book! ... Oh! Excuse me. I completely
forgot you for four lines there.
With appealing humour (her cat, for example, is named Chapter Two), she takes us with her through a very difficult time, which she refers to as the "minuscule chaos of my own life." We meet women friends, family, and lovers, and we get some bleak glimpses of being down and out in Montreal. She often refers to sleeping, or not being able to; it's almost as if it were the centre of her reality, a barometer of how her life is going.
Translated from the French by Luise von Flotow, The Cracks has a unique, engaging tone. The novel is by turns intense, angry, erotic, humorous, and compelling. Dandurand, an actor, filmmaker, journalist, and union official, is also author of Deathly Delights, a collection of short fiction.