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Vandal Love: A Novel
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Milkweed Editions 2012
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Description
An astonishing novel of epic ambition, Vandal Love—winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book in 2007—follows generations of a unique French-Canadian family across North America and through the twentieth century.

A family curse—a genetic trick resulting from centuries of hardship—causes the Hervé children to be born either giants or runts. Book One follows the giants’ line, exploring Jude Hervé’s career as a boxer in Georgia and Louisiana in the 1960s, his escape from that brutal life alone with his baby daughter Isa, and her eventual decision to enter into a strange, chaste marriage with a much older man. Book Two traces a different kind of life entirely, as the runts of the family discover that their power lies in a kind of unifying love. François seeks the identity of his missing father for years, while his own son, Harvey, flees from modern society into spiritual quests. But none of the Hervés can abandon their longing for a place where they might find others like themselves.

In assured and mystically powerful prose, Deni Y. Béchard tells a wide-ranging, spellbinding story of a family trying to create an identity in an unwelcoming landscape. Imbued throughout with a deep sensitivity to the physical world, Vandal Love is a breathtaking literary debut about the power of love to create and destroy—in our lives, and in our history.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/15/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781571318381
ASIN:
B007OVT9NC
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Deni Ellis Bechard. (2012). Vandal Love: A Novel. Milkweed Editions.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Deni Ellis Bechard. 2012. Vandal Love: A Novel. Milkweed Editions.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Deni Ellis Bechard, Vandal Love: A Novel. Milkweed Editions, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Deni Ellis Bechard. Vandal Love: A Novel. Milkweed Editions, 2012. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Deni Béchard's first novel, Vandal Love, (Doubleday Canada, 2006) won the 2007 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the best first book in the entire British Commonwealth. He has been a fellow at MacDowell, Jentel, the Edward Albee Foundation, Ledig House, the Anderson Center, and the Vermont Studio Center, among others. His articles, stories and translations have appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, among them the National Post, the Harvard Review and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. He has done freelance reporting from Iraq, Afghanistan, and has lived in and traveled through over thirty countries. When not traveling, he divides his time between Japan, Cambridge, and Montréal. Cures for Hunger and Vandal Love are his first—and simultaneous—book-length publications in the United States.

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title
Vandal Love
fullDescription
An astonishing novel of epic ambition, Vandal Love—winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book in 2007—follows generations of a unique French-Canadian family across North America and through the twentieth century.

A family curse—a genetic trick resulting from centuries of hardship—causes the Hervé children to be born either giants or runts. Book One follows the giants’ line, exploring Jude Hervé’s career as a boxer in Georgia and Louisiana in the 1960s, his escape from that brutal life alone with his baby daughter Isa, and her eventual decision to enter into a strange, chaste marriage with a much older man. Book Two traces a different kind of life entirely, as the runts of the family discover that their power lies in a kind of unifying love. François seeks the identity of his missing father for years, while his own son, Harvey, flees from modern society into spiritual quests. But none of the Hervés can abandon their longing for a place where they might find others like themselves.

In assured and mystically powerful prose, Deni Y. Béchard tells a wide-ranging, spellbinding story of a family trying to create an identity in an unwelcoming landscape. Imbued throughout with a deep sensitivity to the physical world, Vandal Love is a breathtaking literary debut about the power of love to create and destroy—in our lives, and in our history.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from March 19, 2012
        In this moving and entertaining debut, the Hervé family suffers from a genetic quirk—or divine malady—that results in their children growing into towering brutes or sickly runts. In mid-20th–century Quebec, the hard drinking patriarch Hervé Hervé reduces his family by lending—or simply giving away—the runts, while keeping the giants for labor. Set both in Canada and several American states, from Maine to New Mexico, and spanning more than half a century, the novel divides itself between the isolated introspective pugilist giant Jude, and François, a sociable, religious runt. Though the two Hervé brothers are very different in appearance, they both feel the need to strike out alone, creating their own families and identities in transcontinental voyages. This is both a road novel and a voyage through time, with each of the book’s two parts covering the lifetimes of several family members in an examination of the Hervé lineage. Ruminations abound on sex, violence, and the bonds between people. Though Béchard (Cures for Hunger, a memoir) has a journalism background, this fiction debut, unfolding in punchy prose, recalls Márquez with a French-Canadian twist. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2012
        Even better than his simultaneously published memoir (Cures for Hunger), Bechard's haunting first novel follows three generations that can't find a home in this world. Native soil for the Herve family is Gaspesie, Quebec, but the lure of les States draws away many despite the contempt of flinty patriarch Herve Herve. Life is just too hard in a land where fish stocks are falling and farmland is returning to forest. Besides, it's difficult to feel secure in a family where "children were born alternately brutes or runts," and Herve Herve makes a habit of giving away the runts to neighbors. Soon only his grandchildren, giant Jude and tiny Isa-Marie, remain, and after she dies in 1961, Jude takes to the road and winds up boxing in Georgia. This launches an odyssey that spans 45 years and ranges across the North American continent, as Herve Herve's descendants struggle to maintain connections with the people they love but generally end up taking to the road again. Their connection with the natural world is more sustained and sparks Bechard's most beautiful prose, whether he's describing a stream in a Virginia wood, a desert landscape in New Mexico or the windswept riverside communities of Quebec. Magical realism is the facile way to describe a narrative style that abruptly drops its characters into professions and relationships. Yet the meticulous details and painfully recognizable feelings forestall the fey quality that often mars novels by gringo admirers of Latin American fiction. Bechard has a voice and a vision all his own, both tough-minded and passionately emotional: It feels just as right when a father goads his son to become a fugitive from the law as it does when another father begs his wander-minded daughter, "Wait...Just a little longer. Wait." Reportedly at work on a book about conservation in the Congolese rainforest, the author clearly has ambitions as big as his talent, but readers of this lyrical novel will hope he gets back to fiction soon.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        May 15, 2012
        Canadian author Bechard's Commonwealth Writer's Prizewinning debut novel, simultaneously released in America alongside his memoir, Cures for Hunger, is a sprawling, violent tale of the French Canadian Herve family, which is cursed with offspring born alternately brutes or runts. The saga, spanning from 1918 to 2006, opens with the moving story of Jude, a giant born cradling his tiny twin sister, Isa-Marie, in a small village in Quebec. Because the drunken family patriarch favors his larger children, Jude coddles his sister, pushing her to the brink of despair. When Isa-Marie dies, Jude flees to America, leading to a brief boxing career in the South. The novel's second half follows the runts, starting with Francois, an altar boy who lives with his grandmother, submits to experiments for money, and meets a prostitute who becomes his unlikely girlfriend. Bechard relies heavily on expository narration and minimal dialogue, occasionally making for sluggish, emotionally detached reading. But he does succeed in fashioning a family mythos reminiscent of Faulkner, whose dense, lyrical prose Bechard seems to honor.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
An astonishing novel of epic ambition, Vandal Love—winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book in 2007—follows generations of a unique French-Canadian family across North America and through the twentieth century.

A family curse—a genetic trick resulting from centuries of hardship—causes the Hervé children to be born either giants or runts. Book One follows the giants’ line, exploring Jude Hervé’s career as a boxer in Georgia and Louisiana in the 1960s, his escape from that brutal life alone with his baby daughter Isa, and her eventual decision to enter into a strange, chaste marriage with a much older man. Book Two traces a different kind of life entirely, as the runts of the family discover that their power lies in a kind of unifying love. François seeks the identity of his missing father for years, while his own son, Harvey, flees from modern society into spiritual quests. But none of...
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