The Lover, the Lake
A spellbinding novel celebrating Indigenous sensuality; the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French. Shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Translation.
When it was first published in Quebec, The Lover, The Lake was heralded as the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French. Today, as it is translated into English for the first time, author Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau would rather call it a celebration of sensuality, another first. At a time when Indigenous peoples were being dispossessed of their land and history as well as their relationship to the body, the love explored by Wabougouni and Gabriel is an act of defiance. Their intimate connection plays out on the shores of Lake Abitibi in an affair as turbulent and unfathomable as the lake itself.
"The aim here is to break free of the bonds of wounds the priests' abuse has left on our bodies and souls, wounds linked to loss--of land, of intimate spaces, of identity both as an individual and community member, of sexual identity, of delight in the body, of innocence and the uncomplicated nature of lovemaking. My hope is that this novel will serve to unearth the seed of joy buried deep in our culture, still profoundly alive . . . The Lover, the Lake shows us that we are not just suffering and victims: we can also be pleasure." -- Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, from the prologue