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The Lover, the Lake by Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau

The Lover, the Lake by Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau

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Translated by Susan Ouriou

A spellbinding novel celebrating Indigenous sensuality; the first erotic novel written by an Indigenous woman in French

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.

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Born in Rapides-des-Cèdres, Quebec, in 1951, to a Cree mother and a Quebecois father with Native ancestry, Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau first became a painter. Pésémapeo Bordeleau, who holds a Bachelor’s in fine arts, has taken part in many exhibits in Quebec, the USA, Mexico and Denmark and received many prizes for her canvases. In 2006, she received the excellence in creation award from le Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec and in 2007, the Télé Québec distinction for the Abitibi-Témiscaminque literary award for her poetry collection De rouge et de blanc. Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau lived for many years in Quebec City and now resides in Abitibi, closer to her Cree homeland.