THE TOWN BELOW by Roger Lemelin


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A story of adolescence and sensitivity, of poverty, ignorance and hypocrisy, of the intimidating stranglehold of the Catholic Church, set in the French-Canadian quarter of Quebec City. Peopled by grotesque, incredible characters, with almost gothic situations, the novel is steeped in superstition, provincialism, saintly myths, prudery and perversion- and succeeds as perhaps a good, second rate Hugo. The central characters are the best realized if not wholly sympathetic,- two boys, of about twenty, both in love with the same girl. They are painfully torn between love and their own friendship, and in addition the hero has to fight his notions of purity and the male ego...A strange story, which loses much of its effectiveness in translation no doubt, but might ride on the success of The Tin Flute, by Gabrielle Roy (Reynal & Hitchcock, 1947).

Publisher: Reynal & Hitchcock