La Voyageuse et la Prisonnière: Gabrielle Roy et la Question Des Femmes

Article excerpt

Lori Saint-Martin, La Voyageuse et la Prisonnière: Gabrielle Roy et la Question des Femmes (Montréal: Les Éditions du Boréal, 2002), 391pp. Paper. $29.95. ISBN 2-7646-0168-9.

Lori Saint-Martin is an accomplished essayist, fictional writer and translator and, along with her husband Paul Gagné, is the 2000 winner of the Governor General's award for her French translation of Ann-Marie MacDonald's novel, Fall on Your Knees. Her newest literary critique, La Voyageuse et la Prisonnière, complements her many articles and monographs on female writers in Quebec.

La Voyageuse et la Prisonnière studies the issue of women in Gabrielle Roy's published and manuscript works. The focus, as the title implies, is on two types of women: those who travel and those who are prisoners. Saint-Martin believes that all of Roy's female characters belong to either or both of these polar opposite (albeit complementary) categories and that the mothers are prisoners who dream of travelling while the young women are travellers who dread becoming prisoners. Starting to menstruate is the first step towards that prison cell (often symbolised by the family), and marks the beginning of the loss of one's liberty and thus one's ability to travel.

La Voyageuse et la Prisonnière covers many aspects of Roy's works, in particular narratives in Roy's fiction and sexuality in her manuscript works, a corpus that Saint-Martin considers more 'adult' (sombre, pessimistic and daring) than the published fiction. …