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And the Birds Rained Down

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,815 Ratings  ·  307 Reviews
"With "Il pleuvait des oiseaux," the author has excelled. Brilliant! And what humanity! Jocelyne Saucier is a magician of the soul."--"Le Devoir"

Tom and Charlie are living out what's left of their lives on their own terms in a remote forest, two pot growers their only connection to the outside world. But then two women arrive--a photographer on the trail of survivors of a
ebook, 176 pages
Published March 22nd 2013 by Coach House Books (first published 2011)
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MF Old people have sex. BOOM.

Also, the right to die/self-determination. And the questions it raises about how people who get labeled as mentally ill have…more
Old people have sex. BOOM.

Also, the right to die/self-determination. And the questions it raises about how people who get labeled as mentally ill have a lot to contribute and don't deserve the boxes into which they are shoved.

There's three barriers right there.(less)
Jim Puskas Not really, because the central themes are universal. But it may be a bit more difficult for a younger person to truly appreciate the innate value of…moreNot really, because the central themes are universal. But it may be a bit more difficult for a younger person to truly appreciate the innate value of life and view the hovering presence of death in quite the same way as the very old characters in this story.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Diane S ☔
Jul 24, 2014 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A photojournalist is tracking down people whom survived the terrifying fires in Northern Ontario at the turn of the century.. When talking to people she hears about this young man who seemed to be many places at once, helping people, saving a few and standing in the water with a bunch of flowers. They called him Boychuck and she wants to find him.

She finds him living in the woods with two other men, each living in their own cabin and living life on their own terms. They are each there for differ
Friederike Knabe
Jocelyne Saucier's novel, "And the birds rained down", took me totally by surprise. Starting with the rather odd title to the first paragraphs, I wondered why this slim volume had become a 2015 finalist in Canada's annual book competition, CANADA READS. The more I read, however, the more I was enjoying this unusual and touching story and the way the characters reveal themselves slowly and quite reluctantly. Saucier writes with sensititvity and a sense of humor; the book's narrative structure is ...more
Who among us hasn’t fantasized from time to time about escaping the rat-race and hiding away in the wilderness? This was a beautifully written tale of three older men who had done just that, supported by two younger guys who are growing marijuana out in that same wilderness. It is also about the disruption that occurs when two women enter the picture, one of them the elderly aunt of one of the pot-growers, the other a photographer searching for people who survived an enormous historic forest fir ...more
Sep 04, 2015 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liebe. Leben. Tod.

In diesem Roman geht es um diese 3 elementaren Dinge, die das Leben ausmachen. Ohne Kitsch und Sentimentalität auf den Punkt gebracht.

Es ist die Geschichte von drei alten Männern, die sich in die Wälder Nordkanadas zurückgezogen haben, um selbstbestimmt zu leben und zu sterben.

Zwei werden sterben und einem wird "Ein Leben mehr" geschenkt, in Form von Liebe.

Diese Liebesgeschichte hat mich am meisten berührt, weil sie ehrlich ist. Ein 91-jähriger Mann verliebt sich in eine 82-jäh
Chihoe Ho
A quiet and unflinching look at the freedom of living on one's own terms, "And the Birds Rained Down" has plenty of wisdom to offer readers. Besides having a peculiar plot that is as mysterious as it is romantic, it also reads quite like a stage play with a third-person narrator introducing each unique character-centered or topical chapter.

The story feels generations and lands apart from where I am at this point in life, and so there was discordance with what I wanted to take away from it to wha
Lese lust
Mar 04, 2016 Lese lust rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Etwa 2,8 Sterne

Ein Buch über das selbst bestimmte Leben und vor allem Sterben dreier alter Männer, die sich in die Wälder zurück gezogen haben. Dazu ein wenig Geschichte - die großen Brände - ein Rätsel. .. und eine späte Liebe.

Die Stimmung, die das Buch trägt, ist sehr einnehmend, Einfachheit, Echtheit, große, treue Freundschaft. Die Schilderungen vom idyllischen Leben in und mit der Natur
waren mir alles in allem aber dann doch eine Spur zu idyllisch, auch die Liebesgeschichte (n) hinterließe
Doug H
Jan 15, 2015 Doug H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Artfully presented. Slowly and carefully built. I wasn't as impressed with the main storyline about the character of Ted Boychuck and The Great Fires as I was with the quiet love story of Charlie and Marie-Desneige, but it all fits together nicely and those interested in Canadian history might get more out of the Great Fires content than I did.

The final 50 pages are genius and should be read in one sitting and the ending is beautiful without being overly-tidy. I wasn't sure I was loving it unti
Such a beautifully written book.
May 09, 2015 Bettie☯ marked it as wish-list  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Wanda
The elderly pot-growing in the remote forest - what a GREAT storyline. If only we could all do that.

Oh! wait up...
Jan 29, 2015 Paige rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This short read (under 200 pages) took me over two weeks to finish. A huge part of that can be attributed to the fact that I started school two weeks ago and recreational reading quickly got cut back in the overwhelm of a new semester. Still, though, this book wasn't really pulling at me.

After I could devote some time to it, I got through it very quickly indeed. It took a little getting into, but it was worth it. It felt like a very long short story or a novella instead of a novel. The writin
what a beautiful, compelling story. there is a quietness to this novel that i really enjoyed. saucier gives us some very difficult subjects - aging and the right to determine or control one's own death; living with mental health challenges; an historic tragedy and its aftermath; love & family; living one's own life. for a near wisp of a book (154 pages), a lot of ground is covered. my only hesitations in giving this 5-stars is because i found some things repeated - in some cases, full senten ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm so happy that this book came to my attention through Canada Reads. I loved Ru, the book that won, but this too is a worthy contender.

It is the marvelous story of a couple of octogenarians who have escaped society and it's expectations about their lives. Tom and Charlie are living life on their own terms in cabins in northern Ontario. One of their cohorts, Ted, has just passed away.

Their mostly self-sufficient lifestyles made me think about what it means to live. They do have some help, thoug
Jim Puskas
A truly beautiful piece of work. So much has been written and said about this book, not least of it during the live televised Canada Reads debates. Of the five finalists that year, I personally love this one the best.
It is in every sense a celebration of life:; a stolen life reclaimed after sixty years of unspeakable injustice; lives grasped uncompromisingly by two old men on their own terms; life arising out of fire and ashes, re-created by a set of paintings even after the artist had died; lif
Apr 23, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I really liked this book. First of all, the setting is Northern Ontario, and this is to my liking. Then, I learned something of the great fires in Northern Ontario, and to learn new things is always good. But, it was the characters that I loved as their stories reinforced the reality of life, of dealing with love and joy in the good times and surviving loss and bitterness in the hard times. The relationship between Marie-Desneiges and Charlie shows the importance and healing power of love and te ...more
World Literature Today
"Winner of the 2011 Prix des Cinq continents de la Francophonie, Il pleuvait des oiseaux is a fresh and elegant reminder of Canada’s—and Quebec’s—unique role in forging literary fiction that smartly combines North American land- and mindscapes with European storytelling traditions and styles." - Graziano Krätli, Yale University

This book was reviewed in the July/August 2012 issue of World Literature Today. The full review is available at our website:
Selina Young
Jan 20, 2015 Selina Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely subtle magic book. Long lives lived, lives lived on ones own terms, love and security found late in life. A setting that includes deep in the woods, simple living, artistic influences, canine companions and a marihuana plantation. Thanks Canada Reads for getting me to read this.
Nov 08, 2016 Aleshanee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
Die erste Hälfte fand ich gut, dann ist es etwas abgedriftet ... ich hätte mir da noch etwas mehr gewünscht, denn die Charaktere und die Botschaft über das Älterwerden fand ich sehr gut!
Fantasie Träumerei
Nordkanada. Die Einsamkeit der Wälder bietet Schutz, um zur Ruhe zu kommen. Das Leben ausklingen zu lassen. Es nach eigenem Gefallen zu leben und nach eigenem Gefallen zu beenden. Das ist Freiheit.

Deshalb fühlen sie sich dort wohl. Tom und Charlie, ihre Hunde, und früher auch ihr Freund Ted. Er ist vor kurzem verstorben. An Altersschwäche. Dass es das heute noch gibt. Im Wald ist eben alles möglich. Der Wald hat sein eigenes soziales System.

„Der Tod ist ein alter Freund. Sie sprechen häufig von
Mary Soderstrom
Jun 12, 2015 Mary Soderstrom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a long book,but it is filled with vivid scenes, intricate relationships, a couple of mysteries and a love story that gives hope to anyone who feels time at his or her back. Saucier says she started doing research on the great fires that swept northern Ontario, Minnesota and parts of Manitoba 100 years ago. Between 1910 and 1920 thousands of square kilometers were burned by wildfires started as mining, logging and settlement moved into formerly lightly settled country. Saucier's heroi ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
(4.5 stars) Really, what a lovely little book! And the Birds Rained Down is a finalist for 2015 Canada Reads and was one title that initially did not appeal to me. A brief summary of two pot farmers and men that live in the forest -- hmmmm - wasn't sure that was something I would enjoy reading. It was the first in the CR competition available for me to read however, so I decided to give it a try. What a wonderful and pleasant surprise. Beautiful, beautiful writing,(and translation) lovely people ...more
I picked up And The Birds Rained Down because it was chosen for this year's Canada Reads debates. I never really read synopses before starting a book and so I was completely unaware about what the book was even about. Now, as I sit here having just finished the book, I realize that I was subtly moved by this book.

And The Birds Raines Down is everything you'd expect from a Can Lit novel, plus some. Set in the wilderness with brief forays into the city, setting is almost its own character. The act
Mar 15, 2015 Jolene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai beaucoup aimé le style de l'auteure. Les personnages qu'elle a créé sont émouvants et attachants. Le paysage décrit me rapporte à notre chalet sur le bord d'un lac au Québec. Ce fut une lecture plaisante et réconfortante.
Apr 30, 2012 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: français-canada
Un très beau roman sur la liberté, l'amour et la vie et ses contraires. Une photographe qui cherche les derniers survivants d'un feu qui a dévasté le nord de l'Ontario au début du 20ième siècle fait des personnages qui vivent en marge de la société. Poétique, imagé et surprenant.
Barth Siemens
Mar 17, 2015 Barth Siemens rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Barth by: Canada Reads 2015
Stunningly beautiful writing. I wanted to laugh and cry and love. So much humanity.
Jul 12, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier asks much of its readers. Early in the novel the comment "To doubt [the story] would be to deprive us of an improbable other world that offers special refuge to special beings" challenges us to not only enter into a wild, primitive world of forest, lake, freezing cold and isolation but to also embrace that world as one that, if it is not a familiar place to us, is, nevertheless, still a place that dwells somewhere within us and needs to be both explo ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Mj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Short Version

And The Birds Rained Down is a beautifully written French novel by Jocelyne Saucier and later translated into English by Rhonda Mullins. At its heart, I think this historical fiction is a touching love story of two seniors who first meet long after the supposed prime of their lives. Their love for each other is full on, honest and palpable. Saucier also weaves many other issues into the novel – ageism, institutionalization, mental illness, freedom, making one’s own choices and m
Mieke Schepens
May 21, 2015 Mieke Schepens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Een fotografe (ik heb geen naam kunnen ontdekken) is op zoek naar overlevenden van de grote brand van Matheson in 1916, waaronder Ted, Ed, of Edward – de juiste naam is niet bekend – Boychuck die zijn hele familie verloor in deze brand, een drama dat hij sindsdien met zich meedraagt. De ontdekking van de honderden schilderijen die Boychuck gemaakt heeft om zich te kunnen uiten, is een mogelijkheid voor de fotografe om meer te weten te komen over hem en zijn verhaal.

Tom en Charlie hebben besloten
Schön. Nicht mehr, aber auch nicht weniger. Neben den großen Themen Alter, selbstbestimmtes Leben & Sterben fand ich v.a. auch das Recherchethema der Fotografin (das Matheson Fire von 1916, die Schicksale der Menschen) spannend. Und es gibt eine sehr gefühlvoll beschriebene Sexszene. (3,4 Sterne)
Sasha Gronsdahl
If I were to describe this book in a word, it'd be "eery." If it were a movie, I imagine it would be filled with darkly lit scenes and haunting flashbacks and melancholy piano music. The story is about two old men living off the grid, away from society in Northern Ontario, and their visitors--an elderly escapee from a psychiatric hospital; young men from a nearby town who run a pot plantation by the old men's cabin; and a photographer who comes to piece together the past. The past in question is ...more
Silvia Agostini
Oct 15, 2015 Silvia Agostini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Possibly, one of the best books I have read lately. For more than hundreds of reasons: the way it is written; the simplicity of some deep and complex thoughts; but more than anything, the open mindedness. To me, this book is a celebration of one of the best qualities a human being could have: the ability of changing his mind.

Here, this is sensational for two reasons: first, the people who change their mind are very old (and this ability disappears with age usually!). Second, the change of mind i
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Write Reads Podcast: Write Reads #26 And the Birds Rained Down 1 12 Mar 11, 2015 06:33AM  
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Jocelyne Saucier (born 1948 in Clair, New Brunswick) is a Canadian novelist and journalist based in Quebec.

Educated in political science at the Université Laval, Saucier worked as a journalist in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec before publishing her debut novel, La Vie comme une image, in 1996. That book was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for French-language fiction at the
More about Jocelyne Saucier...

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“A smile for death is the final courtesy.” 1 likes
“They had left behind lives they had closed the door on. No desire to go back to them, no desire other than to get up in the morning with the feeling of having a day all to themselves and no one to find fault with that.” 0 likes
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