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The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant by…

The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant

by Michel Tremblay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Plateau Mont-Royal Chronicles (1)

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2311271,044 (3.8)73



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English (9)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
this is an interesting look at an odd group of neighbours in Montreal, during WWII. Tremblay is very astute - his poignant and powerful commentary on social, gender, religious and political issues has moments that hit quite deeply. the story offers POVs from several different characters and i enjoyed this (what a cast of eccentrics tremblay has created!), but i did lament not getting to know a couple of characters - who were standouts for me - a bit better. i felt the summaries at the end were a bit too rushed, puling certain lives into focus for us from beyond the end of the book. at certain points during the read, i felt a couple of characters were worthy of their own novels, rather than being a small part of this work. perhaps characters will further develop as the series goes on? as i have gone on about before when i have encountered her, Sheila Fischman is an awesome translator. ( )
  Booktrovert | Sep 10, 2014 |
Really good; different. You get perspectives of all the different pregnant women on the street and see their tough lives and struggles. Even the local cat and the family of ghosts is given some narrative space. From old to young, happy to miserable, male and female, all of life's realities and hardships come through.

It never did answer why those ghosts are there, though... ( )
  LDVoorberg | Apr 7, 2013 |
The budding of spring, a time for enlightenment and new beginnings, casts the mood for this beautiful and haunting tale told through magical realism, and reverent love for family, a place and a time. Michel Tremblay’s passion for his beginnings is shared with us through a day in the life of the residents of la rue Fabre in the heart of Montreal in the ‘40s, with the fat lady next door paying homage to his beloved mother.

The mystical sisters, Rose, Violette and Mauve, have sat in their rocking chairs knitting booties for generations of the past, and persevere for seven babies soon to be, the magical triple clicking of their needles a necessity for continuum. Helplessly driven by a predetermined pattern, they are merely observers to the struggles of their tormented neighbours, as they sit with instruments in their hands and compassion in their hearts.

The eccentric and opposing personalities Tremblay presents us with intermingle through the pages amidst their willful ignorance, blinding judgements, and suffocating shame. These transgressions, perpetuated by the shadow of a stifling religion, a begrudged war, combined with a lack of imagination, serve to disquiet them as they struggle to find their footing on the soft ground of the changing season.

The Fat Women Next Door is Pregnant although brimming with delicious prose, did prove to be a difficult read at times. The compilation of 22 distinctly different, three-dimensional characters – a supercilious cat, a matriarchal witch, the she-wolf of Ottawa – and a writing style with no regard to paragraphs or a properly referenced dialogue, left my head swirling on more than one occasion. Seemingly each and every character begged to have their depth explored and their connection with the reader furthered, and as such, I think the story would have been better served as an elaborate, 800-page epic.

Aside from this, I came away from the novel with the feeling that ‘family’ is the true essence of our being, as through all of the chaos and ridicule that can be found on these pages, the love that emits from this clan is a fortress of undeniable strength and authenticity. By the end of the story you’re sure to have a fondness in your heart for the fat woman next door.

  PamelaReads | Aug 5, 2011 |
The story covers the lives of various residents of la rue Mont-Royal over the course of one day - the second day of May in 1942. An interesting neighborhood that includes 7 pregnant women, one of them the 'fat woman' in her 40's that is, shockingly for the social norms of the time period, bearing a child for love. The story doesn't have a main character, it tends to oscillate between the various pregnant women, the neighborhood aging matriarch Victoire, the three generations that live with her, the fates residing in the seemingly vacant house next door, the local shopkeeper and two women of a certain calling. The novel is written as a stream of consciousness with no paragraph breaks, only section breaks, to indicate when the novel shifts character perspective and reminded me immediately of Viginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway in structure and format.

I loved this story, the characters and the mixing of magical realism, historical fiction, divine comedy and interpersonal reflection that Tremblay presents in vivid detail. I cannot write a review that will do this great story justice. I am not even going to try. The novel transported me to a place and time that made me smile and empathize with the characters - male, female, young, old. Even the cat Duplessis and the mystical fates Rose, Mauve, Violet and Florence with their continual knitting and observation of the goings on around them were a treat to experience.

I ended the story with a long sigh mulling over the strength and importance of family, both biological and community.

Love, love, love this one and recommend it as a great story worth reading. ( )
2 vote lkernagh | Oct 24, 2010 |
Not my most favourite book on the planet. It took me a long time to get used to not having chapter breaks and somehow, I just didn't click with the book. I don't think I would bother with reading his other books but it made for a good Canada Reads selection. ( )
  janeycanuck | May 31, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michel Tremblayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fischman, SheilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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E pur si muove - GALILEO
to Helene, who rebelled twenty years before everyone else and had to suffer the consequences. to Louise, Jobin and Jacqueline Rousseau, with all my affection and gratitude.
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Rose, Violette and Mauve were knitting.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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