Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Mercury Under My Tongue (Canada)
by Sylvain Trudel (Author), Sheila Fischman (Translator)
We all knew him during high school—that 17-year-old notebook-toting sage, feeling deeply, spouting out tiny poems, acting just a little too wise for his age—but, despite the factors belying it, still being a 17-year-old. Frederick Langlois, the protagonist of Mercury Under the Tongue, is of that ilk, a younger Kerouac with a sweet nihilism, a strong sense of family ties, and a lingering (if sometimes resentful) sense of responsibility to others.
The book traces a short span of the protagonist's life in a hospital ward peopled with acutely ill adolescents, as they sneak out to go see the newborns in the maternity ward and play games of imagination where they cast themselves as already being in Purgatory. The book travels from his distant but fond relationship with his therapist (and his mute delight at catching a glimpse of her cleavage), through comic moments on the hospital ward, his developing camaraderie with other patients of his age, the survival of some, the loss of others, a brief glimpse of romantic love, and a final reckoning with himself and his family, which is both dispassionate and deeply felt.
This week, I only have one thing listed for Wish-List Wednesday, though I don't believe anybody commented on last week's post, which includes a few books from the UK, so feel free to leave your thoughts!!!
Anyway, I've read a review of this one awhile ago and it sounded good, and then I saw someone else say they'd receieved Mercury Under My Tongue to review and I knew I just had to read this once I heard of it again...especially since it would fit under Bridge the Gap's "foreign" standards aka Non-American.
What do you think? Have you read/heard of this?