Soucy, Gaétan

Gaétan Soucy, novelist (born 21 October 1958 in Montréal; died 9 July 2013 in Montréal). Gaétan Soucy was born into a large family in the working-class district of Hochelaga. He studied mathematics and astrophysics at l'UNIVERSITÉ DE MONTRÉAL, and his master's thesis, which focussed on Kant's Transcendental theory of science, attracted much attention. During his years teaching philosophy at the Cégep Édouard-Montpetit, Soucy became fascinated with Japan. He got to know its language and culture, and visited the country regularly.

Soucy's first novel, L'Immaculée Conception (published in translation as The Immaculate Conception), appeared in 1994 (published in France as 8 décembre). In 1997, he wrote L'acquittement (Atonement) for which he won le Grand Prix du livre de Montréal the following year. La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes (The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches), published in 1998, is a magic-realist story of two adolescents who are discovered with their father's corpse. They must grapple with both the "real" world and the truth about their own bizarre circumstances. This novel, described by reviewers as both a fable and a horror story, contains powerful, unique descriptions and haunting images. It was translated into 18 languages, earning outstanding accolades and critical acclaim in both Québec and France. It won le Prix Ringuet and le Prix Grand Public de La Presse, as well as le Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie des Lettres québécoises. Making up, according to the author, a "trilogie du pardon," and written in a style that encompasses various voices, Soucy's first three novels portray characters whose inner tragedies are rooted in existential questions about death, mourning, sin, guilt, the mysteries of sexuality and the obsessive power of memory. Soucy's 2002 Music-Hall (published in English translation as Vaudeville) won numerous international awards, including le prix France-Québec in 2003, as well as a Governor General's nomination. This work, acclaimed worldwide, was translated into more than a dozen languages.