The List by Jennifer Tremblay; Translated by Shelley Tepperman
Publishing Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Drama, Quebec Writers, Women Writers
The Premise from the Publisher: "A woman invites us into her life of compulsive lists and endless chores. Despite her meticulousness, a task goes unfinished with tragic consequences. Is she to culpable for her neighbour's death? A riveting story of everyday to-do lists in which the essential and the ordinary are inextricably entwined" (PCC).
- Winner of the 2008 Governor General's Literary Award for French Drama
- Finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award for Translation
My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise of this book, I immediately felt a connection with the protagonist because of her compulsion to make lists. I always make lists and I find even for the smallest tasks, I still put it on my list. There is a big sense of satisfaction that comes with completing something on the list. The story follows and unnamed woman who speaks to the audience about how not finishing one "task" on her list leads to the death of her neighbor. Even though, I don't think she was directly to blame, the woman takes all the blame upon herself. It is quite an interesting dynamic because the play touches on themes of negligence, responsibility, and motherhood. I'm not a mother myself, but I found myself really empathizing with the main character and also, Caroline. There was one line in the play that really got to me and that was: "With children love is so easy" (26) and I feel like it speaks volumes. I really enjoyed the style of the play as well. It is written in free-verse (list-style in a sense), but there is so much feeling in the smallest of passages. It gives you a lot to think about how small things play a role in a bigger outcome. It also questions the notion of responsibility as a mother, a wife, a neighbor, and a friend. I really enjoyed reading this and I think it would be fantastic to see it on stage. Apparently Tremblay published a sequel to this text, so I'm definitely keen on picking it up and other things written by Tremblay.
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
Available for purchase at:
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Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was sent by Playwrights Canada Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.