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Flame Out
Guernica Editions, Spring 2022
106 pages
ePub (eBook)
ISBN13: 9781771837026
ISBN10: 1771837020
English
Translated from the French
$9.95 Canada, $7.95 US, £5.95 UK


Looking for the print edition?
When Michael Delisle was a boy growing up in Montreal's South Shore neighbourhood of Ville Jacques-Cartier, his "uncles" -- in other words, his father's friends -- never said "gun" but rather "piece" or "rod" or more metonymically, "heater." In Flame Out, the poet remembers his father, a crook turned Charismatic Christian, the violent man who came to speak only of Jesus, the hated man whom he had no choice but to love, in spite of it all. Delisle writes that “reading and writing poetry helped me stay the course.” Writing was the weapon he used do deal with a childhood that was difficult, to say the least, and to combat a father that he has called his Waterloo. But this novel is more than just about a settling of accounts between a parent and his offspring; Michael Delisle manages, through his writing, to grow into a love-hate relationship without destroying the father figure. This novel is thus both highly personal and an acknowledgement of the power found in the act of writing.
I do not remember this (my father and my so-called Uncle Léo blowing their noses and wiping their eyes in the parlour) but the story was repeated to me many times thereafter. Two gangsters crying over my entry into a carceral world is a colourful page from the folk tale that was my life.

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