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The Party Wall

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  601 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Selected for Indies Introduce Summer/Fall 2016

Catherine Leroux's first novel, translated into English brilliantly by Lazer Lederhendler, ties together stories about siblings joined in surprising ways. A woman learns that she absorbed her twin sister's body in the womb and that she has two sets of DNA; a girl in the deep South pushes her sister out of the way of a speeding
Paperback, 246 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Biblioasis (first published September 24th 2013)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  601 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, can-con
Family ties are a matter of biography and not biology.

The Party Wall is one of those books that works best if you go into it absolutely cold, with no idea what it might be about. As a result, I don't know what to say that wouldn't serve as a spoiler. I will say that, just by glancing at the book's table of contents, one will note that it is broken up into sections which focus on two characters each: three sets of the characters having two long chapters each, and one set of characters having se
Aug 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016-bingo
I'm sorry, I just didn't like it. In fact, it got worse and worse and worse.

I don't remember where I got the recommendation to read this book, but I was excited to buy it new, get it into my hands.

And then it just got stranger and stranger with each progressive page. I found the whole novel (?), collection (?) cold, odd, and even creepy. It completely failed to suck me in and get me invested. There were parts that were like a train wreck -- literally and figuratively -- and so yes, I kept read
Julie lit pour les autres
Lecteur, lectrice, sois patient.e. Accepte de prendre le bout de laine que l'auteure place entre tes doigts et laisse-la dérouler son écheveau. Fais-lui confiance. Parce quand tu réaliseras la subtilité de ce qu'elle est en train de tricoter, tu réaliseras que que cette auteure est douée pour écrire l'universel et le plus grand que soi. Celui-là, je le suggérerais à celui ou celle qui aime les histoires où il n'y a pas de hasard.
Fascinating concepts (a pair of twins is adopted separately and unknowingly end up marrying each other; a mother discovers she doesn't have the same DNA as the son she gave birth to) but this never really grabbed me. I think the characterization is lacking.

Also, the voice felt cold and removed. It's interesting to wonder if this is an effect of the French to English translation or if this is an accurate representation of her French prose, but as far as my experience goes it doesn't really matte
“I guess we’ll never really understand where we come from.” So says one of the characters in Catherine Leroux’s The Party Wall, a quote that basically sums up the entire premise of this Giller Prize shortlisted book.

In this complex, multi-layered story — or set of stories bound together by common themes and characters who are connected with one another — there is a strong focus on kinship, biological parentage and the ties that bind siblings together.

Reviewing the book in any great detail, howev
Kerry Clare
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this.
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
While The Party Wall is marketed as a debut fiction by author Catherine Leroux, it seems to be a collection of short stories. The reviews I read were mixed and the ratings ran the gamut from 1 star to 5 stars from Goodreads’ readers I follow and whose opinions I respect. I wasn’t sure what to expect but my interest was piqued and I began to read in the very best way – with absolutely zero expectations.

I enjoyed The Party Wall. I thought the writing was fresh, crisp and filled with great feeling,
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked how seemingly separate, different characters were all interconnected. That's life, we all brush on each-other's lives one way or the other
❀ Susan G
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads

As the Scotiabank Giller prize announcement looms, I am still reading through the 6 short-listed books. The Party Wall is my 4th of the 6 books that I am trying to finish before the Monday November 7th announcement of the winner. It was written by Catherine Leroux in French and translated by Laser Lederhendler. This book has kept me scratching my head and puzzling over the timing and relationships of the intertwined stories of 4 sets of siblings. It is uni
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this books as part of my challenge to read the Giller Long List from 2016. I had no idea what the book was about prior to reading it so really, had no preconceived notions. Within the first 20 pages, I knew I was going to love this book and I did. The connections between the characters are complicated and, near the end of the book, I found myself drawing a diagram so I could visualize the connections. This book will stay with me for quite a while, I believe, as will its characters.
Tricia Dower
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Inventive but disappointing for a Giller finalist. I felt the links between the stories were forced and not logical.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
L'écriture est ce qui sauve ce roman, à mon avis. J'ai pas été impressionné par l'histoire, notamment les derniers chapitres.
Nancy Whited
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
At the very end of the book, Ms. Leroux added a prologue where she explains where she found the characters in this book. I understand that she tried to intertwine the stories in that "we are all related", however it felt like 3 separate stories and she was interested in writing about each of them, so chose all three and tried to link them.
Having said that, her writing is quite good. I just wished she would have developed more of the characters a little fuller. She wrote quite a long chapter, ne
Mireille Duval
J'ai aimé ça pis pas. (J'ai de la misère à lire de la littérature "blanche" ces temps-ci.) Les trois histoires plus longues étaient très réussies, mais le format où on change d'histoire au moment où ça semble le plus intéressant (et en passant par Angie et Monette, qui m'intéressaient zéro) m'a gossée. Même si ça permet à la fin de faire des liens entre toutes les histoires, ce que j'aime toujours pas mal.

L'écriture était très belle, par contre, et les personnages très bien dessinés. Ariel le Ju
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Beautiful use of language and a compelling story of a range of human experiences.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(view spoiler) ...more
"Travailler tous les jours pour une cause qu'on a soi-même définie, dans les conditions qu'on a choisies constitue une forme de victoire [...]"

"C'est l'avantage de survivre à l'apocalypse: il ne reste plus rien à protéger et à craindre."

"Chaque lueur, chaque bruissement devenait celui d'un monstre tapi dans la nuit du Mojave, prêt à l'enlever, à l'autopsier, à sonder la bêtise de son corps d'humain, de son cerveau harnaché à des buts désespérément vains."

"Il compte les renards et les lièvres au
Un autre ecrivain quebecois. Le mur mitoyen a trois/quatre histoires qui sont vaguement reliees. Decouvrir ces liens fait partie dy mystere mais pas important. Chaque part raconte une histoire de liens familiaux - de maternite, de fraternite, d'origine inconnue - avec un "twist". Ils sont aussi des histoires sur des debouts et des fins.

J'ai suis pas un fan de histoires courtes ou de livres avec d'histoires trop separees, parce que c'est difficile a suivre et attacher a tous les different protag
Judy  Monchuk
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. The Party Wall is a series of stories involving intimate pairs (siblings, a married couple, a mother and son) and how those stories are connected over time and distance. The title alludes to the shared property boundary erected between homes that many people build for privacy. Like those fences or party walls, each relationship has aspects that bind and barriers to keep them apart.

Catherine Leroux's debut, long-listed for the Giller Prize as a translation, works best if the connecti
The Giller prize finalist stamp was what drew me to this book. A very Canadian read (with time placements based on historical events ie: opening of the Confederation bridge), translated from a French, a series of stories split up to showcase their connection. Honestly, it was a bit of a bizarre read with many characters and divided stories but it was also beautiful. The undercurrent theme of family, particularly sibling relationships, is worth digging into. Likely, this book will be polarizing, ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I liked how the stories converged, but everything felt so melodramatic that I would constantly be sucked out of the story.
The main theme seems to be on two people relationships, in all forms
With a strange focus on dead cats

I don't understand why they included a reference to Pierre Elliott Trudeau, but changed the names of all the political parties
It made the book feel hazy, as if not wholly new, but still not governed by the rules of our world

Words felt spoken just to be clever rath
Catherine Dorkin-Kuseta
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The novel was a bit eye opening and shocking. I was a little put off by some of the content, because some of the subject matter is something I don't agree with. Having ready the epilogue, the story in itself became less "creepy".
The writing is sublime. Description was thick; when you came back to the couples vignette you weren't left wondering who are these characters. The characters were written with such description, you almost felt like you knew them personally.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Six étoiles!!!
Ce livre est fantastique! Catherine Leroux nous raconte les vies de toutes sortes de personnes entre qui des lien inconnus sont tissés. Le thème de la famille (et de l'adoption) s'insinue dans les vies de chacun. On parle des hasards qui dirigent nos vie. Est-ce qu'Édouard a raison de penser qu'il est malade parce qu'il a choisi de fuir plutôt que d'aider? De qui Édouard reçoit-il un poumon? Que peut déchirer un amour aussi profond que celui d'Ariel et Marie? Qui est Eva?
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's difficult to describe The Party Wall without sharing details the reader needs to discover for themselves. This is a beautifully written book with paragraphs that could be read over and over to discern their meaning. Essentially, there are four pairs of people whose stories will unfold. The connections between them will be subtle and revealing. Catherine Leroux's imaginative storytelling will stay with me. Highly recommended for lovers of literary fiction.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is pretty much summed up by one line from one of the characters: "I guess we'll never really understand where we come from."
A complex story, it takes a while to grasp the interconnections and common themes connecting the characters.
Overall an interesting read that got better for me as the novel progressed and the characters became better developed.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I very much liked Leroux's writing style but cannot say I enjoyed reading this book. Interesting structure but cannot say it held together well and was at the expense of my emotional engagement with the characters. Ultimately I found the intersecting story lines took on a bizarre and rather desolate tone that was disturbing.
Caroline Mimeault
Jun 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Malheureusement je n'ai pas aimé ce livre et j'en suis bien triste... J'ai apprécié la plume de l'auteure et quelques unes des surprises mais je ne comprends pas pourquoi tant de tristesse, rage et déception étaient nécessaires aux histoires... Je n'ai peut-être simplement pas compris l'aspect artistique et littéraire de l'oeuvre.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book of serial short stories following seemingly disparate characters, at different locations and points in time, who turn out to be tangentially connected. Sad things happen to the characters, but they have a humanity and resilience that makes their journeys compelling.
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Une très belle écriture doublée d'intrigues bien ficelées. Les 4 nouvelles s'enchevêtrent avec fluidité, donnant un sens de plus en plus prégnant à l'ensemble du discours, au fur et à mesure de la lecture. Une belle découverte chez les auteurs québécois. À suivre
Karine P
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai beaucoup aimé. Les nombreux personnages ont tous une aura de mystère et c'est un plaisir de lire quand tout s'imbrique ensemble. Vers la fin, j'étais un peu mêlée de tous les liens entre les personnages, j'ai donc fait un graphique pour bien démêler le tout!
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Write Reads Podcast: Write Reads #42 The Party Wall 1 4 Aug 10, 2016 03:05PM  
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Catherine Leroux est née en 1979 non loin de Montréal, où elle vit aujourd’hui avec un chat et quelques humains. Elle a été caissière, téléphoniste, barmaid, commis de bibliothèque. Elle a enseigné, fait la grève, vendu du chocolat, étudié la philosophie et nourri des moutons puis elle est devenue journaliste avant, de publier La marche en forêt. Finaliste au Prix des libraires du Québec, ce roman ...more
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