Arsenic mon amour

Letters of Love and Rage

Published Date: March 1, 2024


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Two young writers who grew up in the shadow of the huge chimneys of a copper refinery in Rouyn-Noranda speak out. They refuse to be lulled by the songs of gold that have silenced the people who built the city and enriched the foundry owners for decades. They subtly and poetically illustrate the love-hate relationship they maintain with the arsenic and “piles of slag and copper.” This passionate dialogue in French hit Quebec bookstores like a tornado and the English version will echo in company towns throughout North America.


“These letters, peppered with love and rage, are another step in a movement that began long before our time, led by women and men who raised their voices against all odds. To the women who work without pay to demand justice for our community, to the citizens who have spoken out over the years, to those who have paid the price for their commitment, to honest doctors, may this book be used above all as a pretext for giving you a voice again and all the recognition that you deserve.”

Jean-Lou David was born in Rouyn-Noranda in 1993. He is an author.

Gabrielle Izaguirré-Falardeau grew up in Rouyn-Noranda. She is a student, artist and militant.

Mary O’Connor is a Montreal translator who holds a degree from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

In the media

“This unusual and often poetic dialogue between two writers about their love-hate relationship with the mining town of Rouyn-Noranda created a stir in Quebec, and is now translated into English. A passionate look at the realities of communities shadowed by smokestacks and the rapacious extraction of natural resources.” Quill and Quire

“… the letters are poetic, almost violently emotional, romantic, and heartbreaking…” Pascal Chevrette, L’action nationale

“The authors’ intimate and heartfelt approach inspires a profound reflection on how big industry exploits the territory but also a declaration of love for a region, its magnetic landscapes, its creative silence and places that recall the solidarity of the people.” Le Devoir

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