An auto mechanic leaves everything behind to go visit his sick father, on the other side of the continent. But it’s a long way to go in the old car, and a strange power outage, chasing after him, makes the trip more difficult. In this straight-line labyrinth, danger lurks, gasoline is scarce, the thirst is tormenting, and old memories set up an ambush. Along the way, the man takes on board a mysterious woman and an overly talkative chap, which lead to unexpected detours. “The red car is fully loaded and runs at full speed under the black glare of the sun.” To reach its goal.
Le fil des kilometres is a road travelled at the speed of thought, where accidents look us straight in the eyes.
Publication: November 5, 2013 230 pages, 978-2-923530-63-5, Print edition $23.95, Epub / PDF $17.99, Rights : World English ; France
Praise for Le fil des kilomètres
The writing of Christian Guay-Poliquin, fuelled with a well-balanced mix of poetry and reality, manages to inject a constant tension in this story marked by loss. Loss of memory, loss of money, loss of points of reference and of consciousness. If the recourse to mythology—the labyrinth, the Minotaur—seems a little trite, those passages help make the premise denser. Interesting.
Christian Desmeules, Le Devoir
Christian Guay-Poliquin’s first novel, Le fil des kilomètres, can almost be read in one sitting. First, because of Guay-Poliquin’s writing: a style fed with images which are all original, lively, and well turned. His book broadens the road novel’s lexical field considerably. … Christian Guay-Poliquin has mastered the art of storytelling, this unpretentious eloquence which consists of keeping a reader in suspense while at the same time leaving him some space on the back seat.
There is something in this text that reminds us of American nature writing, with this sort of lyricism on the lookout during the drought, the mythical background. Images are beautiful, striking, sharp, and often original. The tone is almost as haunting as the main character’s quest, and there is something reminiscent of a trance. It borders on a road movie. But no more than that, because it is better than a road movie: it’s literature.
… The brilliant and well-mastered writing of this new author endowed with an already confirmed talent … still manages to captivate us with this trip which follows less of a straight line that it appears.
Christian Guay-Poliquin draws us in with this story where even eating and drinking become an adventure. An increasingly threatening world. My excitement grew as the kilometres passed. Until the rather unexpected outcome. The novelist has a great feel for action. He captivated me while saying little, almost nothing. This should probably be called talent.
The author, currently a doctoral student in literary studies at Université du Québec à Montréal, paints in his first novel a contemporary fresco with a mythical flavour, a quest for origins that combines fabulation and reality. Somewhere between Homer’s Odyssey and Jacques Poulin’s Volkswagen Blues, this is the epic journey of a common man, eager to defeat his Minotaur, the legendary beast, which in fact is no more than a powerful metaphor for a father–son relationship begging to surface from a decade-long coma.
This first novel is an almost mythical representation of the life we lead. Close to Jacques Poulin’s Volkswagen Blues, Le fil des kilomètres tells the story of an eroded filiation, in which the hero tries to reconnect the falling pieces. As an auto mechanic, he knows something about patching up, and aspires to give the past its glorious halo back. The need to do so is imperative. Without moorings, humanity may hear, like Ulysses, the sirens’ song that will cause its downfall.
It is a highly poetic subject. A poem on urgency, memory, and the attachment needed to arrive safe and sound at your destination. It is with simplicity that the author sails among the rocks and avoids the disaster also foreseen by Cormac McCarthy in The Road.