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Il pleuvait des oiseaux

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,387 ratings  ·  494 reviews
Une photographe du Herald Tribune part réaliser un reportage sur la région québécoise du Témiscamingue, dont les forêts ont été ravagées par de gigantesques incendies au début du XXe siècle. Elle y trouve une communauté de marginaux fantasques et solitaires, dont Tom et Charlie, deux vieillards qui ont survécu à l'incendie et vivent en ermites au fond des bois. D'abord méf ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published August 22nd 2013 by Denoël (first published 2011)
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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)
E Williams 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)

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Karen
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely captivated by this story!
Three elderly men who had chosen to live out the remainder of their lives in the forest, with the right to live (or die) at their own choosing and with their dignity in place. They have lived this way for awhile, they each have their own cabins and they are all in their upper eighties.
The arrival of two pot farmers, a female photographer, and later.. an elderly woman, change everything.
Just read it!!!
Thank you to Diane Barnes for bringing this book to m
...more
Diane Barnes
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this 5 stars because it was 160 pages of pure joy for me. If you want a plot recap, refer to the GoodReads description. It is all of that and a little bit more, but it introduced me to a group of elderly men and one woman who were all endearing in their own particular way, but were far from being stereotypical. The Canadian wilderness was a major player here as well. Throw in a little history of the brutal fires that swept through Ontario in the early 1900's, a little mystery, a perfe ...more
Betsy Robinson
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Betsy by: Diane Barnes
I read this 155-page novel as slowly as I could and still it went too fast. So now I will take a pause, and then read it again fairly soon.

There isn't much to say after reading this kind of beauty. Mostly "Thank you." Thank you, Jocelyne Saucier for writing it, Rhonda Mullins for such a sensitive and delicate translation. Thank you, Diane Barnes for reviewing it, thanks to her unknown book club for picking it so that she read it and shared it with me and other Goodreaders.

I wish I could read thi
...more
Cheri
In which people go missing, a death pact adds spice to life, and the lure of the forest and of love makes life worth living. The story seems far-fetched, but there are witnesses, so its truth cannot be doubted. To doubt it would be to deprive us of an improbable other world that offers refuge to special beings.
This is a story of three old men who chose to disappear into the forest. It’s the story of three souls in love with freedom.
‘Freedom is being able to choose your life.’
‘And your deat
...more
Antoinette
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This novel is a priceless gem! I love all types of books, but I do think my favourites are character driven, and this is one such novel.

“ This is a story of three old men who chose to disappear into the forest.
It’s the story of three souls in love with freedom.
Freedom is being able to choose your life. And your death.”

This is a short novel filled to the brim with beautiful writing and translation and with people I won’t soon forget. “Old” people for the most part with a lot of history in their
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"And the Birds Rained Down" by Jocelyne Saucier, translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins, is a short novel about a photographer who encounters a group of aging recluses as she searches for survivors of the "Great Fires" in northern Ontario in the early 20th century. It is told in a unique style and focuses on single characters as the story develops, with surprises throughout. Art, love, life.

Lauren W. discussed this on Episode 123 of the Reading Envy Podcast, and I wanted to read it immedi
...more
Diane S ☔
Jul 24, 2014 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
...more
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
Chrissie
I was eager to read this, quite simply because the book’s title indicated to me that the author has the ability to portray events through lyrical prose. In this respect I was not disappointed! I also have an affinity for everything French, liking the culture as I do. French Canadian, as in this case, or French French, doesn’t matter to me.

The book deals with an incendiary storm, here the great 1916 Matheson Fire in northern Ontario. Settlers in the region cleared land using the slash and burn me
...more
Wanda
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
Viv JM
A group of three elderly men are living out their remaining days cut off from civilisation in a remote forest location, their only contact with the outside world a nearby cannabis farmer. Things change with the arrival of two women - one is a photographer with an interest in the survivors of the forest fires of the early 1900s, and the other is the elderly aunt of one of the pot growers who has spent her life locked away in psychiatric institutions.

This book takes a thoughtful and empathetic lo
...more
Paltia
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Midway in just when I was questioning what this book was about the story ignites and burns like the fire at it’s core and reveals it’s charming magic. A small group of men becomes transformed with the arrival of two unique women. They join their community adding a feminine element which creates a balanced universe of their own making. As the story opens the photographer is introduced. She’s documenting the great Matheson fire of north Ontario. She seeks out the survivors, listens to their storie ...more
Sherril
Every once in a while you come across a book for which a genre is is not easily found. “And the Birds Rained Down” ('Il pleuvait des oiseaux') by Jocelyne Saucier, translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins, is such a book. It’s a quiet, sometimes meditative book, which I would generally put in “gentle reads” with books like Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson and Jim the Boy by Tony Early. In the end this may be the appropriate genre for And the Birds Rained Down. Often this genre ...more
Krista
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, can-con
It was raining birds. When the wind came up and covered the sky with a dome of black smoke, the air was in short supply, and you couldn't breathe for the heat and the smoke, neither the people nor the birds, and they fell like rain at our feet.

And the Birds Rained Down is a small and quiet book, but it captures a bit of magic nonetheless. It reminded me of a Group of Seven painting put into words, by way of Margret Atwood's Survival: a classical interpretation of Canada, made modern. As auth
...more
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
"The whims of a fire cannot be explained. it can climb the highest peaks, rip the blue from the sky, spread in a reddish glow, swelling, whistling – good god, it can leap onto anything that lives, jump from shore to shore, plunge into ravines soggy with water, devour peatlands, but leave a cow grazing in a circle of grass. What is there to understand? Fire, when it achieves this power, obeys no one but itself."


The author John Gardner famously declared that there are only two plots in all of
...more
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
...more
Doug H
Jan 15, 2015 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
...more
Ann
Jun 28, 2015 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
...more
Katy
What a lovely story! This short but expressive novel is about two elderly men living out their twilight years entirely on their own terms in the remote forest of Northern Ontario.
The story is translated from French, but is beautifully readable. It covers a variety of topics on life, living it to the fullest, finding happiness and making your own happiness. It is filled with old friendships and new love.
The characters are genuine and true to their values. The two men’s lives take an interesting
...more
Czarny Pies
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: English Canadians
I recommend this very sweet but cock-eyed love story to all English Canadians especially to those living on Highway 11 north of Barrie.

The book deals with the survivors of Matheson's Great Fire of 1917. The heat was so intense from this fire that it killed the birds in the air who rained down on the ground below. Two lovers are separated in this fire but are reunited many years later when they are both very old.

This novel reminds me of Pietro Mascagini's charming opera L'Amico Fritz about two Al
...more
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
...more
HomeInMyShoes
Such a beautifully written book.
Mary Soderstrom
Jun 12, 2015 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
Icewineanne
Three old men who decided to disappear from their mainstream lives, are found hiding out in Northern Ontario cut-off from mainstream society by a female journalist who has been searching for one of them to do a story on his life. The men have been missing for years, and presumed dead, but the journalist had her doubts. Then another woman who is also running away from her life at an old folks home, finds their settlement & decides to stay with them.
This book is a meditation on life, survival, re
...more
Debbie Bateman
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written book with a heart-warming and surprising story about the need for freedom and the healing powers of love. The vivid descriptions of wild fires and the radical choices of the characters give the story a mythological feel. I particularly enjoyed the sensitive and real treatment of a love relationship between people of advanced age, as well as the use of visual art to reveal the inner workings of experience. This is easily the best book I’ve read this year.
Bettie
May 09, 2015 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...
Sara
Reading this book was an immersive experience heightened by the fact that the quality of the paper of the book was so pleasing and fine - there's actually a whole long note at the back of the book about how the book was manufactured which was worth a read in itself.

What I really admired about this short novel was that it was entirely unpredictable in both form and plot. Even though there were clear throughlines, it almost felt more like interconnected stories than a full novel. And even though i
...more
Roger Brunyate
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada
Hermits? Not so much.

This short French Canadian novel, translated by Rhoda Mullins into an English that you would take for its original language, is a delightful sleeper of a book. Unprepossessing cover, slow start… do I really want to read about a bunch of old men in their eighties and above, living in the Northern Ontario forest and not washing for months at a time? But author Jocelyne Saucier introduces her chapters in a sly, deliberately old-fashioned way that is a joy in itself. For example
...more
Paige
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5

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
...more
Jennifer
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 sentences ...more
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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
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