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Author: Larry Tremblay

Translator: Sheila Fischman

Publisher: Talonbooks (2020)

A playful and macabre narrative tour de force, structured like a matryoshka doll, Impurity weaves a complex web of interlocking narratives in multiple voices and a variety of forms. The bestselling author Alice Livingston is dead, leaving her philosopher husband, Antoine, dealing with a legacy towards which he has felt increasingly estranged. Confronted with his wife’s much reported disappearance, Antoine revisits their past relationship: open and liberated on the outside, but constrained and even deviant on the inside. The news of the day (the death of JFK Junior, the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk, etc.) announced by the television running in the novel’s background gradually becomes significant in the lives of the protagonists––as revealed in Alice’s last book. As narrators of the novel become less and less reliable, good intentions become corrupted, appearances prove to be deceiving, and Impurity’s multiple plots come to a gripping, asphyxiating conclusion.