The Last Bullet Is For You
Martine Delvaux. Translator David Homel
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept is the title of Canadian writer Elizabeth Smart’s classic hymn to love, which novelist Angela Carter once described as being “like Madame Bovary blasted by lightning.” Later, Carter wrote privately to a friend, saying that she would hate any daughter of hers to have to write such a novel, adding, “By Grand Central Station I Tore Off his Balls would be more like it, I should hope.”
And now along comes Montreal novelist Martine Delvaux with The Last Bullet Is for You. This stream-of-consciousness novel takes the form a love letter, but it is the last one. One last letter filled as much with the memory of love as the desire for revenge. Love is war, wrote Ovid, and this book is a battleground. Writing is both an act of passion and the means to end it once and for all. Writing is the last bullet, shooting through the love story and into what is left of the lover: a ghost, a fiction. And maybe that’s what he was from the start.
MARTINE DELVAUX was born in Quebec City and brought up in a francophone village in Ontario. She is the author of four novels, an essay on photographer Nan Goldin, and another on Serial Girls from Barbie to Pussy Riot (Fall 2016, Between the Lines). Her first book in English, Bitter Rose (translated by David Homel) was published by LLP to critical acclaim in 2015. Delvaux studied in the United States, taught in England, and now lives in Montreal, where she teaches women’s studies at Université du Québec à Montréal.
DAVID HOMEL is an award-winning novelist and translator of novels. He has won the Governor General's Award twice for translation. He has also worked as a filmmaker, journalist, and teacher. His most recent novel is The Fledglings (Cormorant, 2014).