Tisseyre, Michelle 1947–
TISSEYRE, Michelle 1947–
PERSONAL: Born 1947; daughter of Pierre (a publisher) and Michelle (a television host) Tisseyre.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Key Porter Books, 6 Adelaide St., 10th Fl., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1H6.
CAREER: Journalist and literary translator.
La passion de Jeanne (novel), Robert Laffront (Paris, France), 1997, translated by Tisseyre as Divided Passions, Key Porter Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.
Robert Sutherland, Le mystère de l'île au roc noir (title means "The Mystery of Black Rock Island"), Éditions Pierre Tisseyre (St. Laurent, Quebec, Canada), 1999.
Emily Carr, Klee Wyck, Éditions Pierre Tisseyre (St. Laurent, Quebec, Canada), 2000.
Robert Sutherland, Meurtres au lac des Huards (title means "Murder at Lake of the Huards"), Éditions Pierre Tisseyre (St. Laurent, Quebec, Canada), 2000.
Robert Sutherland, Si deux meurent (title means "If Two Die"), Éditions Pierre Tisseyre (St. Laurent, Quebec, Canada), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Michelle Tisseyre, a Canadian journalist and literary translator, also found success as a novelist when her debut work La passion de Jeanne remained on the bestseller lists in Quebec for more than four months. In 1999 Tisseyre, the daughter of Quebec publisher Pierre Tisseyre and popular television host Michelle Tisseyre, translated her own work into English as Divided Passions.
Described as "an engaging blend of romance and political intrigue" by a Resource Links contributor, Divided Passions is based on the life of the author's maternal grandparents. The book concerns Jeanne Langlois, the only daughter of a prominent French-Canadian politician and his controlling, pious wife. To placate her mother, at age sixteen Jeanne entered a Carmelite convent in Manitoba, but found the strict conditions overwhelming and left the order, only to rush into a thankless marriage with a young lawyer of Irish descent. "While the language difference could suggest, as does the title, [an] account of a family struggling to breach the linguistic divide, this conflict is really of no consequence here," noted Jane Koustas in the University of Toronto Quarterly. "The story is instead a romanticized 'slice of life' glimpse at uppercrust Montreal society." Amid the tumult of World War I and the Great Depression, Jeanne struggles to raise a child after her marriage disintegrated, and learns to chart her own course in a rapidly changing world. "Confronted with a failed marriage to an abusive, alcoholic husband, who seemingly has never stopped loving her, Jeanne finally finds happiness in the arms of another man, at considerable expense to her reputation and, no doubt, to that of Tisseyre's mother's entire family," Koustas added.
Quill & Quire reviewer Mary Soderstrom stated that in Divided Passions Tisseyre produces "a popular novel filled with as much romance as social observation," and added that the author "skillfully weaves in political argument with historical fact," as in her description of the conscription debates during World War I. A critic in Books in Canada remarked that the author "writes with flair and confidence, tells a good story, and uses her knowledge of Quebec politics to good advantage," while Soderstrom observed that Divided Passions "is skillfully translated by the author herself, a feat that is as remarkable as her book is engaging."
"The main interest for English readers lies, perhaps, not in the novel's literary worth but in its popularity," Koustas wrote of Divided Passions. "Tisseyre's novel hits a nostalgic chord. This is a privileged glimpse into what sells in Quebec."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 1998, review of La passion de Jeanne, p. 1610.
Books in Canada, October, 1999, review of Divided Passions, p. 36.
Quill & Quire, April, 1999, Mary Soderstrom, review of Divided Passions, p. 27.
Resource Links, October, 2000, review of Divided Passions, p. 49.
University of Toronto Quarterly, winter, 2000–01, Jane Koustas, review of Divided Passions.