Proulx, Monique 1952-
PROULX, Monique 1952-
PERSONAL: Born January 17, 1952, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; daughter of Gustave Proulx and France de la Chevrotiere. Ethnicity: "Quebecoise." Education: Laval University, baccalaureate.
ADDRESSES: Home—4563 rue Hutchison, Montreal, Quebec H2V 4A1, Canada.
MEMBER: Societe des auteurs et compositeurs dramatique (SACD; French Society of Dramatique Authors and Composers), SACDEC, Union des ecrivaines et ecrivains quebecois (UNEQ; Union of Quebec Writers), Artistes pour la paix (Artists for Peace).
AWARDS, HONORS: Adrienne-Choquette Prize and Journal de Montréal Grand Prize, both 1984, both for Sans coeur et sans reproche; Quebec/Paris Prize, Desjardins Best Novel of the Year Prize, and Booksellers Grand Prize, all 1994, for Homme invisible à la fenêtre; Best Canadian Movie Award, Critique Award and Best Movie Award, and Salamandre d'or, best screenplay, all 1994, for Le Sexe des étoiles; Cristal Globe, best film and best screenplay, both 1998, for Le Coeur au poing.
Sans coeur et sans reproche (short stories), Québec/Amérique (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1983.
Le Sexe des étoiles (novel), Québec/Amérique (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1987, translation by Matt Cohen published as Sex of the Stars, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1996.
Homme invisible à la fenêtre (novel), Boréal (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1993, translation by Matt Cohen published as Invisible Man at the Window, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1994.
Les Aurores montréales (short stories), Boréal (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1996, translation by Matt Cohen published as Aurora Montrealis, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1997.
Le Coeur est un muscle involontaire (novel), Boréal (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2002, translation by David Homel and Fred A. Reed published as The Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2003.
Gaspard et fils, Vision-4, 1988.
A la vie a l'amour, ACPAV, 1989.
Le Futile et l'essentiel, TVOntarion, 1991.
Le Sexe des étoiles, Productions du Regard, 1993.
Le Coeur au poing, Cite/Amerique, 1998.
Le Grand Serpent du monde, Office national du film du Canada, 1999.
Souvenirs intimes (adapted from the novel Homme invisible à la fenêtre), Productions du Regard, 1999.
WORK IN PROGRESS: An original screenplay.
SIDELIGHTS: Monique Proulx writes films and has published award-winning novels and short stories. Le Sexe des étoiles centers around a brilliant male microbiologist who undergoes a transsexual transformation. The book details Marie-Pierre's impact on those around him, who include a novelist, a talk-show researcher, and Marie-Pierre's own astronomy-obsessed daughter, Camille, whom she fathered while a male. Elaine Kalman Naves, writing in Quill & Quire, found "noteworthy" Proulx's comfort with science "and how organically she incorporates Camille's fascination with the stars into her text. This passion for astronomy adds a touch of the metaphysical to the exploration of sexual 'otherness.'"
The setting of Homme invisible à la fenêtre is Montreal's literary Plateau district where Max, a paraplegic expressionist painter, lives and works in an abandoned building and interacts with the few people who are part of his life. Marguerite Andersen wrote in the Canadian Book Review Annual that the novel "is undoubtedly a masterpiece—intellectually stimulating, emotionally frightening, and masterfully translated" as Invisible Man at the Window. The characters include Gerald, a sculptor; Maggie, an actress; an art historian and her son; and Max's mother. Lady, Max's lover of twenty years before, moves into a loft facing his and begins watching him and phoning him nightly. Max's mother moves into the apartment next to his, but Max avoids involvement with both women, wanting only to be an observer, rather than a participant in life. Instead, he paints them and the other characters on canvas. Eileen Manion wrote in Books in Canada that Max "views others with 'the voracity of an eye that sees … without prejudice,' but on himself he turns a punishing irony to avoid the self-pity … he fears would destroy his will to live." Manion said Proulx maintains the suspense "almost to the end…. I read it with the intense commitment and absorption of a whodunit." Manion called Homme invisible à la fenêtre a "stunning novel about love … about the artistic process and its connection with the artist's inner life." Homme invisible à la fenêtre "is a treasure of Quebec literature: a beautiful, intelligent, joyful horror, much like life itself," wrote Kathleen Hickey in Quill & Quire.
Proulx's second volume of short stories, Les Aurores montréales, is a portrait of referendum and post-referendum Montreal. Declared by critics to cut across every kind of boundary—linguistic, political, racial, sexual, and ethnic—this sequence of twenty-seven stories has been said to unveil a complex and multifaceted city. Les Aurores montréales shot to the top of the best-seller lists and was thought by critics to confirm Monique Proulx's position as one of the outstanding Quebec fiction writers of her generation. Maureen Garvie in Quill & Quire stated, "A superb translation by Matt Cohen now allows anglophones to step through the looking glass to marvel…. Finishing the book, the reader is convinced Monique Proulx is yet another reason why Canada would be infinitely poorer without Quebec."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Books in Canada, February, 1995, Eileen Manion, review of Homme invisible à la fenêtre, pp. 29-30.
Canadian Book Review Annual, 1995, Marguerite Andersen, review of Homme invisible à la fenêtre, p. 182; 1996, p. 173.
Canadian Literature, autumn, 1989, p. 265.
Essays on Canadian Writing, spring, 2002, Michael Eberle-Sinatra, review of the film Le Sexe des étoiles.
Montreal Gazette, March 13, 1998.
Quebec Studies, spring-summer, 2001, Denise Rochat, "Corps derobe: Handicap et condition postmoderne dans Homme invisible à la fenêtre de Monique Proulx," pp. 113-127.
Quill & Quire, September, 1994, Kathleen Hickey, review of Homme invisible à la fenêtre, p. 58; May, 1996, Elaine Kalman Naves, review of Le Sexe des étoiles p. 25; December, 1997, Maureen Garvie, review of Les Aurores montréales, p. 24.