Street of Riches (Rue Deschambault)
By Gabrielle Roy. A Governor General’s Award Winner 1957. This book retells tales from a girl named Christine growing up in French-Canadian community of St. Boniface (now Winnipeg), Manitoba in the early twentieth century. Originally published in French, it is in Roy’s autobiographical and vignettes style. I’ve read one other Roy book before this, and I chose this because I needed to brush up my French and my Canadian literature. The former did not work out as it took me weeks to finish this 160 page book due to school, and I read only two chapters in French. I finished it mostly in English for time constraints. The book is not fast paced either. The vignettes creating a feeling of short stories of similar characters. I think Roy is a good writer, and she’s certainly smart and observant about Canadian culture especially in regards to its minorities. Her style of writing characters is simple, but somehow very poignant. There are some nice moments in this novel. This does not mean I’ll read even more from her; the vignettes sometimes made me wish for a more cohesive plot. The novel is a story of growing up in Canada, and I think I could relate to it even today. It’s probably a very candid and honest look of Canada in the early twentieth century. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone though because of the pace, but like all stories about growing up, we can glean things from it.