THE DEVIL IS LOOSE! by Antonine Maillet


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A spirited but disjointed and rambling sea yarn from the author of the Prix Goncourt-winning Pelagic (1981). It's the 1930's: Prohibition is law in the United States, bootlegging flourishes on Canada's east coast, and blonde, blue-eyed Crache-á-Pic, ""daughter of a long line of giants, sorcerers and intrepid sailors,"" roams the seas to foil the best-laid plans of the region's biggest rumrunner and racketeer, DieudonnÉ. DieudonnÉ tries to pick up a haul, and Crache-á-Pic (Acadian French for ""spit in your eye"") intercepts it. DieudonnÉ dresses his gangsters as priests to deceive the border guards, and, disguished as a nun, Crache-á-Pic gets them captured and transports their liquor. With ""luck, pluck and courage"" and a motley crew (on whose folksy eccentricities altogether too much time is spent), she goes on (and on) confounding DieudonnÉ, to the delight of the villagers whom he's exploited. Enter Quicksilver, the handsome new constable. Although at cross-purposes, Crache-á-Pic and Quicksilver quickly fall in love. Afraid for Crache-á-Pic, Quicksilver then steals her schooner and sets off in her place to intercept DieudonnÉ, who has set a trap. DieudonnÉ mistakes Quick-silver for his mortal enemy Crache-á-Pic, and kills him. Crache-á-Pic, a good sport to the end, saves DieudonnÉ's skin at a farcical (and endless) trial, but the crime boss is banished from Acadia forever. Much local color and humor, and a translation that is appropriately light and colloquial, but this is a slack and repetitious tale--much of its energy wasted.

Pub Date: April 6th, 1987
Publisher: Walker