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Madame Victoria

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  46 reviews
In 2001, a woman’s skeleton was found in the woods overlooking Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital. Despite an audit of the hospital’s patient records, a forensic reconstruction of the woman’s face, missing-person appeals, and DNA tests that revealed not only where she had lived, but how she ate, the woman was never identified. Assigned the name Madame Victoria, her remains ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 2018 by Biblioasis (first published September 28th 2015)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  252 ratings  ·  46 reviews


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Helen Power
In 2001, a skeleton was discovered in the woods behind the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec. The remains were never claimed. The mystery woman was lovingly referred to as Madame Victoria by those who sought to identify her. Her case was eventually set aside, replaced by more urgent matters. But Catherine Leroux won’t let Madame Victoria be forgotten. In this compelling novel, Leroux has crafted twelve possible backgrounds for Madame Victoria.

Each individual history is equally
...more
Jennifer
hmmmm.

okay. so. this is a tricky one for me to rate. (i read this for an in-person book club i've just started attending.) there was much i liked and admired about this book, yet there were things that just didn't work for me. let me get the criticisms out of the way first:

i really had trouble with the flow of the book. granted, i managed to go into it not realizing it was connected short stories so i take ownership for that bit of dumb-dumbness. but setting that aside, this is what happened: in
...more
Billy
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un autre grand roman par Catherine Leroux ! Ce qui semble être un recueil de nouvelles se révèle être un beau roman ! Portraits de femme(s). Portrait humain. Portraits vivants et riches. Les mots sont sublimes et l(es) histoire(s) est(sont) touchante(s)...
Mélanie
Catherine Leroux possède une plume agile et sensible, mais ce projet semble inachevé, ou peut-être incomplet. Le patchwork ne colle pas tout-à-fait. Je suis restée à la surface de cet assemblage de petites histoires sans réussir à y plonger.
Edith
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
J'ai trouvé l'écriture très belle, mais je n'ai pas tout à fait accroché à l'histoire.
La couverture est magnifique!
Laurie Trépanier
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 Très bien écrit, mais j'ai trouvé qu'il manquait un fil conducteur un peu plus solide entre les différentes histoires. ...more
Flavie
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Une histoire qui raconte les multiples vies d'une Victoria prise dans la terre, mais qui se débat pour exister. Catherine Leroux écrit un roman qui fait le portrait des différentes vies qu'aurait pu avoir cette Madame Victoria, véritable flèche pointant vers le nord. Cette femme est intemporelle, tout comme cette oeuvre tissée avec finesse.
Shelley Gibbs
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gosh, Catherine Leroux is good. The writing is captivating.

In 2001, a woman's skeleton was found in the woods overlooking Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. Her identity was never determined. Leroux constructs twelve different histories for Madame Victoria, and in doing so honours all women on the margins, those dismissed & unmissed by society. I can't wait to read more by this author.
James Resendes
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
ILOVECATHERINELEROUX

Her writing is just brown cow stunning, ugh.

The novel obviously reads as more of a collection of shorts (similar to 'The Party Wall'), but they’re all linked thematically and symbolically to imagine the real (if there is a real) Victoria’s life before her body was discovered. It’s mostly lyrical rumination on alienation and solitude, but cloaked in twelve vividly imagined fables. Just an absolute TREAT to read.

Special mention to the Russian-spy-turned-québécois-drag-queen
...more
Michel Jean
J'ai beaucoup aimé le style moins l'histoire.
Mylène Fréchette
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: québécois
Mis à part un certain manque de cohésion dans l'ensemble, j'ai vraiment adoré ce livre. Quelques histoires m'ont touchée davantage, mais elles étaient toutes incontestablement bien écrites et intéressantes dans leur singularité.
prescribed
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The concept of this book is fascinating. Each story is an imagining of the life lived by an unidentified woman whose body was found near the Mount Royale hospital in Montreal. Each story is different in genre and tone, varying from sci-fi, fantasy, realism, a story of time travel, a runaway, a workaholic, a celebrity, a goddess, a slave, an indigenous women. While some of the stories are stronger than others, the collection itself is moving and reflects the many lives of women who dissapear in ...more
Amélie
Sep 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: québec, 2015, 2016
En 2001, les restes d'une femme inconnue sont retrouvés près de l'hôpital Royal-Victoria, à Montréal. À ce jour, son identité n'a toujours pas été établie -- sauf dans le livre de Catherine Leroux, où Madame Victoria nous est racontée sous des formes multiples, parcellaires, éclatées, jusqu'à défoncer l'histoire & les étoiles. Si j'ai moins adhéré à ce projet qu'aux autres livres de l'auteure, la plume de Catherine Leroux reste belle & volatile, touche-à-tout, curieuse. C'est toujours un ...more
Julie lit pour les autres
À partir d'un fait divers, soit la découverte des restes d'une femme à proximité de l'Hôpital Royal-Victoria, Catherine Leroux tisse et retisse l'histoire d'une, de deux, de cinq, de dix Victoria. Multiples femmes, mais une seule solitude, immense, pesante. Quelle belle plume. Plaira aux lecteurs.trices aimant les multiples possibilités et déclinaisons que peuvent offrir un personnage. L'art de la page couverture est particulièrement bien choisi.
Karine Mon coin lecture
Catherine Leroux écrit toujours aussi bien. Le projet est ma foi fort intéressant. Mais malgré les tentatives, il y a pour moi manqué un peu d'unité pour que j'adhère complètement. Bien aimé mais pas un coup de coeur, comme ça avait été le cas pour les deux autres romans de l'auteur.
Danielle Lafrance
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suivre l'auteure dans son enquête nous permet de rencontrer une série de ''Madame Victoria'' dans des portraits fascinants, troublants, totalement imprégnés d'un parfum mystérieux, celui de l'imaginaire et de l'inconscient en liberté.
Sarah Booker
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"She was an arrow resolutely pointed north"
Asia Groves
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars. As expected, this novel reads quite a bit like a collection of short stories, but each story is a different possibility regarding the identity of the mysterious (and real) Madame Victoria. I will admit that this is the first French translated or Quebecois novel I have ever read, so maybe some of what I found weaker in this novel is just a trait of this particular type of storytelling. Some of the stories were particularly strong and almost earned the book a solid 4 stars, while Leroux ...more
Annie
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the notes and acknowledgements at the end of Madame Victoria, by Catherine Leroux and translated by Lazer Lederhendler, Leroux tells us that this collection of short speculative fiction is meant as a tribute to a woman who remains unidentified. At the beginning of this novel, a Montreal man discovers the decayed skeleton of an unknown woman and begins to wonder how she came to die on a wooded hill near the Royal Victoria hospital...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a
...more
Leonard
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best novel I've read since "The Blurry Years" and "Frugge." In the early 2000s the body of a woman was found on the campus of a hospital in Montreal. Although DNA and other investigative searches were conducted, her identity was never discovered. In this original and admirable novel Catherine Leroux honors that woman by creating 12 possible explanations for that woman's identity. The stories are well written and often sad as well as engaging. Great reading.
Michael  Berquist
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was by far the best book I read in 2018. This is a series of variations about the possible identities of a woman found dead at Victoria Hospital in Quebec. I have never read anything quite like this stunning collection. Thematically and from a narrative perspective, it is brilliant. I hope to use this for my high school English students for a creative writing model unit. Highly recommended.
Jacquie
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is dark. How could it not be?? It imagines the life of a woman who no one looked for when she died. She was not connected to anyone. How could this be?? Leroux gives us a number of imaginations. Unlike other readers, I liked the sci-fi time travel story...it added to the mystery for me. It also made me want to take another trip to Montreal!!
Michelle
I'm not sure why, but this did not work for me. I loved the concept. Bones found on Mont Royal, Leroux writes stories of who the woman could have been. I was really interested in reading this but out of the stories, only a few captured my interest. I wish my French were better to see if its the translation that didn't work for me or the author's style.
Kathy Tillotson
Jul 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not relate to the characters or situations in this book. Some of the Victorias were not believable & experienced bizarre, unrealistic situations that made no sense to me. I don't get how each different Victoria is a tribute to the "Victoria" of unknown identity whose remains were found but never "claimed". Disappointing read.
Elyse NG
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: internet-recs, qc
Autant d'hypothèses que de Victoria(s). Une touchante façon de redonner une identité à cette femme sans nom et sans histoire. Des histoires de femmes, toutes différentes et qui entrent dans l'émotion de diverses manières. C'est ma première lecture de Catherine Leroux, j'ai désormais hâte de lire ses autres titres!
Dorothy Mahoney
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A good read of the potential possibilities of identity of an anonymous skeleton found near
the hospital in Montreal. Leroux also delves into the detective on the case and the person who
first discovered her. Repeating several images connects them together. The last few Victoria's are
a definite stretch...
Ani King
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tania
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great book, but in my opinion the unexpected SF/fantasy end looks cheap and in a sense devalues the entire message of the book. Otherwise it is really good. I would give it a 4.5 if that were possible on Goodreads.
Tracy
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A bit odd, but stretched my reading skills. I liked the way the author totally used her imagination to take a real (if unknown) person's life to design several versions of what it might have been. I didn't get some of it, but I feel like it made me think a little differently than usual as I read.
Kendel
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slightly pretentious in how it was translated (not sure if that's a by product of the writing or the French to English translation) but overall unique concept and enjoyable read. I loved meeting the many Victorias.
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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