“I hate hockey!” is the first and last sentence of this novel by François Barcelo. But hockey is a pretext for unlikely adventure in this sardonic roman noir that at times flirts with the outrageous.
Narrator Antoine Vachon is a total loser living in a pitiful bachelor apartment after he has lost his wife and his job as a car salesman. When his son’s hockey coach is found dead, he is browbeaten into coaching the team for one game. He makes it through the game (to great comic effect), but things take a turn for the worse when they stop at a motel after the game. Who killed the former coach and why? Was Antoine’s son involved? Or his ex-wife? The late coach was liked by all and was a pillar in the community. He was close to his player, perhaps too close… Why is Antoine unable to communicate with his son?
François Barcelo’s humour and brilliant story telling is finally available in English. I Hate Hockey reads quickly, but is meticulously but stitched together. Though subtle signposts are present throughout, every development comes as a total surprise.
François Barcelo is a GG-award-winning novelist. I Hate Hockey is his first book to appear in English.
“Barcelo is not a genius. He just has talent… but he has a lot of it.” Gilles Marcotte, L’actualité.
“An excellent short thriller, set in somber surroundings, that also gets you laughing… darkly.” Jessica Émond-Ferrat
By François Barcelo
Translated by Peter McCambridge
In bookstores in Canada October 15, 2011
After his successful Roads to Richmond: Portraits of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, Nick Fonda now offers readers Principals & Other Schoolyard Bullies, a collection of eleven short stories that, while unified by a dark theme, are diverse and surprisingly optimistic.
Everybody knows that bullying is not limited to physical violence or intimidation and that bullies don’t necessarily look or dress like thugs. Through the voices of boys and girls, men and women, Nick Fonda recounts events and puts words to feelings and emotions that mark people’s lives. His characters include the biased principal who wreaks havoc as he protects his own pets, wicked adoptive parents, and the neighborhood tough who, with his parents’ approval, terrorizes anybody smaller than him.
“Principals & Other Schoolyard Bullies tells the truth about school through these eclectic stories about the complicated lives of both students and educators, and a system that often purports to be about doing good, and ends up being something else entirely. Fonda’s characters are well-drawn, coming to life on the page with intelligence and imagination.” —Zoe Whittall, prize-winning poet and novelist, The Middle Ground
Principals & Other School Yard Bullies
In bookstores September 15, 2011
188 pages: Trade paper $19.95 ISBN 978-1-926824-07-9.