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Maria Chapdelaine de Louis Hémon est un des classiques incontournables de la littérature québécoise. Sans cesse réédité depuis sa parution en 1916, ce roman, fut longtemps considéré comme une représentation symbolique du Canada français traditionnel où rien ne meurt. Le roman, dont l’action se déroule au début du 20e siècle à Péribonka, met en scène des défricheurs, bercés par la foi catholique, qui tentent péniblement d’arracher leur subsistance à un sol ingrat. Maria, une jeune fille « simple et sincère », s’éprend de François Paradis, le coureur des bois…

Voici qu’une traduction de ce livre paraît en anglais dans un magnifique album illustré chez les Éditions Toundra. Les illustrations sont de Rajka Kupesic.

Maria Chapdelaine
Louis Hemon
Illustrated by Rajka Kupesic
Category: Juvenile Fiction – People & Places – Canada; Juvenile Fiction – Girls & Women; Juvenile Fiction – Classics
Imprint: Tundra Books
Format: Hardcover
Pub Date: September 2004
Age: 8-12
Trim Size: 8 x 10
# of Pages: 40 pages
ISBN: 0-88776-697-8
CDN Price: $22.99

The quintessential story of French Canada brought to life with beautiful new illustrations. For many children today, it would be hard to imagine living in a world without modern comforts and electronic entertainment, where hard toil is necessary for survival and harsh weather can forever change one’s fate.

Maria Chapdelaine, a gorgeous picture book based on the classic tale by Louis Hémon with enchanting paintings by Rajka Kupesic, is a window into Canada’s history: the village of Peribonka, Quebec, circa 1916.

When Maria Chapdelaine returns home after a month away, winter is melting into spring and Maria is blossoming into a young woman. She makes a promise to wait for a suitor until he returns from a year of work in the forest. Meanwhile, as the seasons pass, the villagers of Peribonka are busy clearing the land for crop, harvesting hay, and baking loaves of bread. Then, with the onset of winter and a growing list of suitors, Maria Chapdelaine’s future is thrown into turmoil, and she must choose between two destinies: a life in an American city or a life in her familiar village, with all its hardships. The choice Maria makes has been controversial since her story was first published. Did she make the right decision?

As a moving story of survival in the midst of pitiless nature, Maria Chapdelaine has cast its spell over millions of readers around the world, in 23 different countries, since it first appeared in 1916.

Now this enchanting depiction of a classic tale is paired with 26 exquisite, naïve paintings that capture the reverie and austerity of our Canadian heritage.

LOUIS HÉMON’s famous novel, Maria Chapdelaine, has been translated into more than twenty languages and is as closely associated with Canada as Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Hémon wrote the text of Maria Chapdelaine while
working as a laborer on a farm in Quebec. It was originally published as a serial in a Parisian paper and was later brought to Canada as a single book. Maria Chapdelaine remains Hémon’s most treasured work.

RAJKA KUPESIC was classically trained as a ballerina and danced for many years in Europe while developing as a painter. As an artist, she is known for her unique handling of detail, color, and mood, which infuses the familiar with an extraordinary quality. Her paintings have been shown in numerous galleries worldwide and have been featured in magazines in France, Canada, and Japan, and in major collections around the world. Her first book, Claire’s Gift, was awarded the Mr. Christie’s Book Award for Best Children’s Book. Rajka Kupesic is currently working on another picture book, written by ballerina Karen Kain and based on the ballet The Nutcracker, to be published in 2005. Ms. Kupesic resides in Toronto with her husband Zlatko and their two sons.
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