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A tender but lively debut novel about a man, a woman, and their Chevrolet dealer. Agathe and Rejean Lapointe are about to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary when Rejean's beloved Chevy Silverado is found abandoned at the side of the road - with no trace of Rejean. Agathe handles her grief by fondling the shirts in the Big and Tall department at Henderman's Family A tender but lively debut novel about a man, a woman, and their Chevrolet dealer. Agathe and Rejean Lapointe are about to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary when Rejean's beloved Chevy Silverado is found abandoned at the side of the road - with no trace of Rejean. Agathe handles her grief by fondling the shirts in the Big and Tall department at Henderman's Family Apparel and carrying on a relationship with a cigarette survey. As her hope dwindles, Agathe falls in with her spirited coworker Debbie, who teaches Agathe about rock and roll, and with Martin Bureau, the one man who might just know the truth about Rejean's fate. Reminiscent of 2015 Canada Reads finalist And the Birds Rained Down and Gone Girl, I Am A Truck is a funny and moving portrayal of Acadian love and loyalty.


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A tender but lively debut novel about a man, a woman, and their Chevrolet dealer. Agathe and Rejean Lapointe are about to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary when Rejean's beloved Chevy Silverado is found abandoned at the side of the road - with no trace of Rejean. Agathe handles her grief by fondling the shirts in the Big and Tall department at Henderman's Family A tender but lively debut novel about a man, a woman, and their Chevrolet dealer. Agathe and Rejean Lapointe are about to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary when Rejean's beloved Chevy Silverado is found abandoned at the side of the road - with no trace of Rejean. Agathe handles her grief by fondling the shirts in the Big and Tall department at Henderman's Family Apparel and carrying on a relationship with a cigarette survey. As her hope dwindles, Agathe falls in with her spirited coworker Debbie, who teaches Agathe about rock and roll, and with Martin Bureau, the one man who might just know the truth about Rejean's fate. Reminiscent of 2015 Canada Reads finalist And the Birds Rained Down and Gone Girl, I Am A Truck is a funny and moving portrayal of Acadian love and loyalty.

30 review for I Am a Truck

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    **UPDATE: The Giller Prize short list was announced today and this delightful book made it to the top 5!** Recently, I read the long list for this year's Giller Prize, a Canadian award established in 1994. I was chagrined to see I didn't recognise a single name. I realised that recently, aside from internationally known Canadian authors (such as Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel), I have been neglecting my country when it comes to my reading choices. So, rather impulsively, I scanned a few titles a **UPDATE: The Giller Prize short list was announced today and this delightful book made it to the top 5!** Recently, I read the long list for this year's Giller Prize, a Canadian award established in 1994. I was chagrined to see I didn't recognise a single name. I realised that recently, aside from internationally known Canadian authors (such as Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel), I have been neglecting my country when it comes to my reading choices. So, rather impulsively, I scanned a few titles and "I Am a Truck" stood out, both because of its stark, quirky title, and the publisher's description. I ordered it right away from Invisible Press. Well, it was adorable. I don't mean that in a condescending way, either. I just really enjoyed it, felt at home reading it, and was often amused by the understated, intelligent writing. It's set in Acadia (Maritimes/Eastern Quebec) in a small town called Pinto, during an unnamed decade, but I would guess it's the 1980s. Réjean and Agathe are French Canadians who have a general dislike and mistrust of Anglophones, but for work purposes, move to English speaking Pinto. It's really funny that these two don't care for the English, but speak a wicked "franglais". A few examples: "Je drive mon truck." "C'est un town full of losers." "Mange, donc la. T'es starving." None of the French is translated, by the way, but I liked that, and also, I think it's fairly easy to follow even for a non speaker. Agathe and Réjean have been married almost 20 years. They have a seemingly great marriage, but... well, they're pretty co-dependent, and there's no spreading wings and flying going on, despite some inventive sex. Agathe is like a stranger to the world in many ways, and Réjean feels keenly that something in his life is missing. One day, his truck is found by the side of the road, and he is gone. The story alternates between before and after he goes missing, and slowly the mystery gap starts to close. It reminded me of a toned down Miranda July story with the odd assembly of characters, the humour mixed with poignancy. The character of Martin Bureau was one of these oddballs, a sweaty, neurotic loner who secretly learns French and drives a Ford on the sly, desperate to belong somewhere. "Le rockandroll" is a central motif in this book, and Winters references groups like The Pretenders and glam rocker Marc Bolan among many others, which provides quite a soundtrack. The more music that Agathe listens to, the more the world grows around her. The book deals with loss, the cages we impose on ourselves and the people we love, identity, and loneliness, to name a few. So much in few pages. What a hidden gem this novella is! O Canada!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    Wow! What a great novel to start the New Year! A new start! This was a debut novel by Michelle Winters that was short listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2017. Why did I wait until now to read it ?! The story is a bit of a conundrum .... it’s a love story but not a romance; it’s a mystery but not a who-dunnit; it’s funny, in a comical or satirical sort of manner. The author has chose her words and phrases very carefully in describing the relationship of Agathe and Rejean, who are readying to Wow! What a great novel to start the New Year! A new start! This was a debut novel by Michelle Winters that was short listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2017. Why did I wait until now to read it ?! The story is a bit of a conundrum .... it’s a love story but not a romance; it’s a mystery but not a who-dunnit; it’s funny, in a comical or satirical sort of manner. The author has chose her words and phrases very carefully in describing the relationship of Agathe and Rejean, who are readying to celebrate twenty years of blissful marriage, when Rejean becomes a missing person. This couple lives in a predominantly English speaking town in the Acadia region of Canada, and they have made it their mission to remain true to their French roots. While there are entire conversations in French, without translation, you can certainly get the meaning of the discussion. This story is in someways heartbreaking, and makes you tear up, yet it is so humorously witty, it makes you tear up! The author cleverly intersperses descriptions with rock and roll lyrics with a charming and purposeful effect. It is really quite a display of literary ingenuity! After all, music is a universal language conveying emotion even if in a language foreign to you. ....and this emotion filled story is brilliantly crafted with an effective storyline and message, although I think the message is open to interpretation by the reader. Very thought provoking! While this really doesn’t tell you much of the story, it is one of those that you need to read it, experience the raw emotions and decide the true meaning for yourself. That alone makes it a universal success, in my books! Go ahead, read it. It won’t take long and it is very moving.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “I Am a Truck” by Michelle Winters.... was a debut Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist in 2017. It’s a short novel that begins with a missing husband. “The Silverado was reported sitting next to the highway with the driver-side door open just eight hours after Agathe had kissed Rejean on the front step at their cottage and sent him off fishing in the rain with a Thermos full of coffee, four sandwiches au bologne, and a dozen date squares. It was pouring so hard that as they embraced, the rain smac “I Am a Truck” by Michelle Winters.... was a debut Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist in 2017. It’s a short novel that begins with a missing husband. “The Silverado was reported sitting next to the highway with the driver-side door open just eight hours after Agathe had kissed Rejean on the front step at their cottage and sent him off fishing in the rain with a Thermos full of coffee, four sandwiches au bologne, and a dozen date squares. It was pouring so hard that as they embraced, the rain smacked loudly on Rejean’s enormous back. He blew her a kiss as he reversed out of sight, and she smiled and touched her lips”. “He was lying to her. ..... He was an awful liar, but he preserved artlessly in his tale of a fishing trip on Saturday with the men from work. Their 20th wedding anniversary was next week and Agathe wasn’t about to challenge him on trying to cover up a surprise for her”. “Their physical relationship had flourished over the years, despite the normalcy and tedium innate in all couples, and despite what Agathe considered to be the loss of her figure”. “For him, she would always be the girl who had awakened his soul that July day at the marche when they were teenagers”. Agathe thought she heard the Silverado—Rejean pulling into the spot in front of their house. Instead there were two officers making their way to the front door. Her husband‘s empty truck was reported sitting on a shoulder - not too far from their home - with the driver-side door open. The officers said that the good news was that it didn’t look like there had been any foul play or an accident. “It’s more like he just...walked away”. The story moves back and forth between NOW and THEN.... giving us background history and present day worries. The setting and language makes this tale unique... Set in Acadian New Brunswick — with a bilingual couple who speak English and French. The books charm begins with the title itself ( a Chevy truck to be exact). It’s a character driven quirky tale that examines the plausible and implausible—a little discovery of rock ‘n’ roll—battle debates between a Chevy and a Ford— while exploring love and loyalty. I wanted to like this book more. I thought it started well— but somewhere around the middle my interest begin to fade— I wasn’t a great match for just ‘how-quirky’ this book really was— I stumbled along with the French sentences— and somehow I missed the real humor with the ending. I mean I should have seen it coming —- I can understand how people might laugh out loud... but I didn’t. “I Am A Truck”, was more a ‘me-not-you’ preference... Between the unfamiliar language of the French sentences—my funny-bone limitations— and an ending that made me feel like the fool for not having a better sense of humor— I was left feeling dissatisfied—intellectualizing the humor— is not the same as ‘feeling’ it. So.... mostly, I missed the boat! 3 stars for the setting — and the charming characters. The plot itself didn’t ‘wow’ me. The real value for me— was that it peaked my interest to visit Google and read more about Acadians.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    A really enjoyable read. Highly innovative writing style and I found myself chuckling more than once. I actually looked up a recipe for Rappie Pie - sounds delicious! (Note: I have since made this pie. It wasn't bad at all, but it was a lot of work!) I loved the strong female characters. Wild, self-sufficient Connie taught Agathe to live life on her own terms, and in the end, this is what we see the previously house-bound Agathe doing: reaching out for the light. Quirky, funny, raunchy - a fast, A really enjoyable read. Highly innovative writing style and I found myself chuckling more than once. I actually looked up a recipe for Rappie Pie - sounds delicious! (Note: I have since made this pie. It wasn't bad at all, but it was a lot of work!) I loved the strong female characters. Wild, self-sufficient Connie taught Agathe to live life on her own terms, and in the end, this is what we see the previously house-bound Agathe doing: reaching out for the light. Quirky, funny, raunchy - a fast, smooth read and very hard to put down. Highly recommended! (I support Canadian authors, and this one was a great one: don't be fooled by the poor score on Goodreads!)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    “Ben, je drive mon truck.” Not long after they were married, French Canadians Agathe and Réjean moved to the mostly English-speaking village of Pinto – in rural Acadian country – and everything from their remote cabin in the woods to their refusal to speak anything but French bonded them as two against the rest of the world (“Il n'y a que nous.”). In the week before their twentieth anniversary, therefore, it's inconceivable to Agathe that when Réjean's beloved Silverado is found abandoned at “Ben, je drive mon truck.” Not long after they were married, French Canadians Agathe and Réjean moved to the mostly English-speaking village of Pinto – in rural Acadian country – and everything from their remote cabin in the woods to their refusal to speak anything but French bonded them as two against the rest of the world (“Il n'y a que nous.”). In the week before their twentieth anniversary, therefore, it's inconceivable to Agathe that when Réjean's beloved Silverado is found abandoned at the side of the road, he could be a “Voluntary Missing Adult” as the police insist. Switching between the aftermath of “Now” (in which Agathe is forced to get a job in town and mingle with Anglos, even as she insists that Réjean will eventually come home) and the recent past of “Then” (in which small secrets that both Agathe and Réjean guard grow into an unseen gap between them), I Am a Truck sketches a tragicomic narrative, with the two time streams converging on a present that explores the ideas of identity, love, and allegiance. This book is weirdly funny (not quite laugh out loud, but like a Coen Brothers movie), totally charming, unequivocally Canadian, and asks the all important question: Will the world ever see peace between those who drive Chevys and those who favour Fords? (Also: Why would anyone even be thinking about buying a Renault?) The beginnings of a love story, which I am including at length to capture something of the tone of this book: Agathe had been watching the eaves for birds while her mother examined potatoes. When Réjean suddenly appeared, his eyes already on her, he saturated her field of vision. Agathe's knees buckled and she slid to the ground. Édithe Thibeault was quick and sharp, tossing the bag of potatoes into the air and catching her daughter before she hit the ground. As the potatoes rained down, Édithe looked up and also set disbelieving eyes on Réjean. At only fifteen, he was close to seven feet tall, with a chest as big as a rain barrel and arms the size of a normal man's legs. His hands were like a bunch of bananas. He was already working on the downy beginnings of his moustache. For her part, Agathe had just the year before peeled her way out of a rind of unremarkability, emerging that summer a very pretty girl. Her mother's friends would comment that Agathe was now pretty enough to be a newscaster or a figure skater and that perhaps, her beauty would be the thing to finally put P'tit Village on the map. For Réjean, she became existence itself. He broke from his brothers and swept in, hands extended, and, without a word, pulled up both Agathe and her mother so that their feet briefly left the ground. His eyes locked on Agathe's until he turned to join his brothers, gazing over his shoulder at her. When she had finally lost sight of his back in the crowd, Agathe began to cry. On returning from the market, Réjean asked his mother for a haircut and presented himself at the Thibeault's door later that same afternoon, hair clippings still in his ears, asking if Agathe would like to go for a walk. He couldn't have expected that once they reached the woods at the end of the street, Agathe would grab him and pull him to her, knocking the breath out of them both. They had to wait three years to get married. Twenty years later, Réjean goes to work in the woods every day while Agathe stays home to make date squares and rappie pie, they spend their evenings playing gin rummy, and look forward to acting out inventive role-playing scenarios in bed at night. Why would Réjean walk away from all that? And how could Réjean simply walk away from his Silverado; a new model of which he buys every year? The secrets they keep: Despite loving their time driving together in Réjean's pickup, Agathe has grown tired of the French folk songs her husband insists on listening to on the truck's radio; Agathe wouldn't mind turning to the English rock and roll station every now and then. As for Réjean, when he confides to an acquaintance that he feels something is missing in his life, and this friend recommends that Réjean find a hobby, the big man begins to fantasise about hurting men whom he imagines forcing themselves on his wife (strange hobby, n'est-ce pas?). Wherein these two secrets intersect lies both the tragedy and the comedy. “C'est ne pas un crime, Martin,” he laughed, “driver un Ford.” So much in this book is about identity: Chevy drivers vs Ford drivers (and what do you make of a Chevy salesman who drives a Ford?) seems an ironic substitute for the all-too-Canadian dichotomy of Anglos vs Frocophones (and what do you make of the English-speaking man who secretly learns French to better communicate with a man he admires? What of the French-speaking woman who tries out, sotto voce, the English phrases of the brash blonde who whirlwinds into her life?). I liked that in the town of Pinto, there are whole conversations with one person speaking English, the other responding in French, and the two of them understanding each other perfectly (and I also appreciated that the French is untranslated, but not beyond what I learned in school). I even liked the frequent descents into a bastardised Franglais as people sought deeper connections. Mostly, I liked the weirdly comic moments: He was drinking from a brown bottle, singing, and nodding his head with the momentum of the song. He really approved of this song. There wasn't much to do with this one, except agree. It's a little hard to pinpoint the timeframe of this book – a character gets a job in Computer Programming, but no one appears to have a cell phone – and the specific rock songs that get Agathe's motor running seem to point to the late Eighties/maybe early Nineties: Agathe laughed and turned it up as Sheriff told her they'd never needed love like they needed her...Cheap Trick wanted her to want them...Trooper told her to see how it felt to raise a little hell of her own. (Unless the radio and the clubs are only playing the “classics”, lol.) Perhaps author Michelle Winters needed to place her story a bit in the past to make it preglobalisation; perhaps it's no longer possible to imagine a French-speaking couple, outside of Quebec, successfully isolating themselves from the wider Anglo community, and there's something interesting to think about in that. I picked up I Am a Truck because it was longlisted for the 2017 Giller Prize, and while it doesn't feel as weighty as some of the other nominated titles that I've read, I'm really glad that I was introduced to this book; ah, therein lies the beauty of the longlist.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    This is an odd duck, that's for sure. Michelle Winters has carved out something that I'd describe as Fargo set in rural, acadian New Brunswick. There's some really interesting things going on in this novel shortlisted for the 2017 Giller Prize--Canada's biggest literary prize--and though I wanted to love it, I found it to be just okay. Agathe and Réjean are a happily married couple, living an insular life in New Brunswick when Réjean disappears a few days before their anniversary. His Silverado This is an odd duck, that's for sure. Michelle Winters has carved out something that I'd describe as Fargo set in rural, acadian New Brunswick. There's some really interesting things going on in this novel shortlisted for the 2017 Giller Prize--Canada's biggest literary prize--and though I wanted to love it, I found it to be just okay. Agathe and Réjean are a happily married couple, living an insular life in New Brunswick when Réjean disappears a few days before their anniversary. His Silverado is left by the roadside, door ajar, with no sign of foul play. In the chapters that follow this incident, the reader is tossed between Agathe struggling to understand where her husband has gone and flashbacks to Réjean and Agathe prior to his disappearance. I had a lot of fun with Winters' colourful cast of characters and unlikely situations which populate the novel. The solution to the novel's central mystery is clued up with a quarter of the book left to go and was unexpected, hilarious, and tragic all at once. Though Agathe doesn't participate in any mystery solving herself, she does begin to spread her wings and discover more about herself in the months following Réjean's disappearance. Part of that discovery seems to be a classic rock radio station as Agathe's developing independence is paralleled by her familiarity with 70s and 80s rock staples. The quirky situations and bolstered by the unique decision to incorporate the unique french spoken by many francophones in New Brunswick. The language is a mixture of french and english, and was interesting to read having grown up amidst this dialect. I wondered throughout my reading whether or not the book would be approachable to an non-bilingual reader. On one hand, I'm comfortable saying that you'll be able to infer a great deal from the context and response to the language. On the other hand, I think the novel is best experienced with at least some basic french. It was fun to read this short novel set in territory very familiar to me. Though I can point to a lot of things I really liked about the novel, it never came together into a cohesive whole for me. The contrast between familiarity and freedom that seems to run through the novel didn't click with me the way it has in other reads. So: lots of quirk, good characters, strange decisions, and awkward situations make for a mixed pot of a novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺

    Wow...so much punch packed into such a short book! I think I need to ponder it some more, but at first brush, I was impacted by the way the characters found themselves once they were no longer wrapped up in each other. It's astonishing, but true, that relationships can sometimes bring about such isolation. In many ways, Agathe and Rejean were just as lonely as Martin, who had no one. Wow...so much punch packed into such a short book! I think I need to ponder it some more, but at first brush, I was impacted by the way the characters found themselves once they were no longer wrapped up in each other. It's astonishing, but true, that relationships can sometimes bring about such isolation. In many ways, Agathe and Rejean were just as lonely as Martin, who had no one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I was looking for a quick read this morning and picked this up from Overdrive. This was everything you said it was in your review Katy, funny, sad, a love story, a murder mystery of sorts and a quick ending for me anyways. Never looked at the page count, it was over in two short hours, just when I felt it was getting good. 188 pages makes me wonder about a sequel.....

  9. 4 out of 5

    Barbara McEwen

    This was just fun. I liked the characters and could totally picture this quirky, almost ridiculous, Canadian story. It's short but action-packed like a rock song so why not give it a try? This was just fun. I liked the characters and could totally picture this quirky, almost ridiculous, Canadian story. It's short but action-packed like a rock song so why not give it a try?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mag

    A great little book that I probably would not know about were it not a runner-up for the Giller Prize this year. Set in a small town in eastern Canada, it’s a about a mystery concerning a woman, her husband and his truck dealer. A great story, ditto characters, and all of it written with a lot of subtle humour that had me chuckling along. Took me a day and a half to read, and was the first fiction book in a long time that I couldn’t really put down.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Magdelanye

    Actually, I Am A Truck reminds me of that little car in the childrens tale. The big surprise there was that there was no end to the number of clowns that emerged from the tiny vehicle. Just when you thought they had reached their limit, another would emerge. IAAT contains no end of surprises. Even before the reader has a chance to settle, another twist in this tale reveals a new permutation. Which makes this a delightful, thoughtful book, much bigger than it seems.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    A debut novel with a colourful cast of characters reminiscent of the Coen brothers. Quirky, funny, and touching. A fast read with innovative writing that intersperses French or Franglais gives the feel of Acadian New Brunswick. A story of self discovery, isolation, loneliness and an existential look at the phrase “Il n’y a que nous” (there is no one but you) and love. I can see why this book was a finalist for the Giller Prize- a terrific read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)

    Delightful. Filled with the kind of French that an Anglo Canadian can read and feel good about :)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Agathe and Réjean have been married for 20 years and seem to have a good relationship. They are French and isolate themselves from the English community where they live. "Just you and me forever" sounds romantic but there's always such a thing as too much togetherness. Then Réjean's pickup truck, a Ford Silverado, is found abandoned by the side of the road and Réjean is missing. It seems he might have just walked away from his life and Agathe, left behind, has no idea why. Agathe struggles to bui Agathe and Réjean have been married for 20 years and seem to have a good relationship. They are French and isolate themselves from the English community where they live. "Just you and me forever" sounds romantic but there's always such a thing as too much togetherness. Then Réjean's pickup truck, a Ford Silverado, is found abandoned by the side of the road and Réjean is missing. It seems he might have just walked away from his life and Agathe, left behind, has no idea why. Agathe struggles to build a new life and pursue interests that she was unable to previously, such as a love of rock and roll. Meanwhile, Martin, a salesman at the local Chevy dealer who sold Réjean his yearly Silverado upgrade model, may be the one person that knows what happened to Réjean. A lonely man, he seemed to have developed a man-crush on Réjean and after Réjean disappeared, becomes obsessed with watching over Agathe. The story is told in chapters alternating before and after Réjean's disappearance, so we can see how Martin's dependence on Réjean's friendship grew and get a picture of the marriage and then how things proceed after his disappearance. The dialogue is sometimes French mixed with English but you can get the gist of it if you have no French at all. There are lots of references to rock songs of the era, late 70s going by the ones I recognized, and how they "speak" to Agathe. It seems like this book is about identity, who you are individually, who you are in a relationship, and who you want to be. All three characters haven't had a chance to grow as a person because of their isolation. Both Agathe and Réjean are different apart than they were together. Réjean seems to have become an anchor in Martin's life and when that anchor is gone, Martin starts to sink. And yet, it's a love story, and it's quirky and unusual. A short and enjoyable read. This novel is the author's first and is on the shortlist for this year's Giller prize. Quite an accomplishment!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachyl

    When I first began reading this a month or so ago it was at the start of a reading slump, and for that reason I really wasn't enjoying it. However, when I recently tried picking it up again to finish it, I found much more that I liked about it. I really loved the themes of identity and loss that are tackled in this book. Especially since there is so much revolving around characters finding their identity in relation to others and how that changes once those other people are absent. I found thi When I first began reading this a month or so ago it was at the start of a reading slump, and for that reason I really wasn't enjoying it. However, when I recently tried picking it up again to finish it, I found much more that I liked about it. I really loved the themes of identity and loss that are tackled in this book. Especially since there is so much revolving around characters finding their identity in relation to others and how that changes once those other people are absent. I found this element, paired with the setting and the mixture of French and English dialogue made this a really quintessentially Canadian novel. Often, when exploring the subject of Candian literature the question of who we are as a country comes up; and a lot of our definitions are who we are in relation to others. The way this novel explores Candian characters who have the same internal struggle, really felt to me to mirror our struggle for a cohesive national identity. The writing I really grew to enjoy too. I felt that Winters created really vivid images of the various settings and characters. With minimal description I could really feel as though I was a part of the story. I was also pleasantly surprised by the character of Debbie. When she first appeared, it seemed as though she was just going to be annoying and rely on her good looks and just be a source of pain for Agathe somehow. But as she was revealed to be a really intelligent and driven though free-spirited woman and her friendship with Agathe developed it really opened up that other side of identity through the way others perceive you through first impressions, and how that can never be the whole story. All in all I found this story to be really well constructed and that it seemed to do all that it set out to in a really short period. I thought it was a fantastic debut novel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nell Beaudry

    I Am A Truck tells the story of Agathe and Rejean, a Francophone couple in small-town Acadia, surrounded by Anglophones. They live in a small home in the woods, isolated as much geographically as they are linguistically. Shortly before their twentieth anniversary, Rejean disappears. Told in a clear, compelling voice with evocative prose and incredible dialogue, Michelle Winters examines loneliness, isolation, closeness, the way language and music create worlds, relationships, links, as well as h I Am A Truck tells the story of Agathe and Rejean, a Francophone couple in small-town Acadia, surrounded by Anglophones. They live in a small home in the woods, isolated as much geographically as they are linguistically. Shortly before their twentieth anniversary, Rejean disappears. Told in a clear, compelling voice with evocative prose and incredible dialogue, Michelle Winters examines loneliness, isolation, closeness, the way language and music create worlds, relationships, links, as well as how they create a "language" within a relationship. I really loved the role that language played within the book, both in terms of the actual writing as well as within the plot. A spare little book, it packs a huge emotional punch.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    The mix of French and English was good. With my limited high school French I was able to read the story fairly quickly. It was good that all of these descriptions were in English or I would have been lost. There are three important characters in the story, Agathe, Rejean and Martin, with Agathe being the main character. I really was not expecting the story to turn out the way it did. The drastic changes in the characters were not sudden. In fact, the changes made total sense. If you are looking f The mix of French and English was good. With my limited high school French I was able to read the story fairly quickly. It was good that all of these descriptions were in English or I would have been lost. There are three important characters in the story, Agathe, Rejean and Martin, with Agathe being the main character. I really was not expecting the story to turn out the way it did. The drastic changes in the characters were not sudden. In fact, the changes made total sense. If you are looking for something a little weird but about domestic life, this would be it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

    Quirky little read (only 149 pages) about love and loyalty set in the Acadian region of New Brunswick. A Giller short lister which caught my attention as I followed along this story told in English with lots of French peppered in. I imagined Agathe married to Andre the Giant and am still left curious at the end of "what happens now?" .... but that's the lovely part of life.... we never actually know. Quirky little read (only 149 pages) about love and loyalty set in the Acadian region of New Brunswick. A Giller short lister which caught my attention as I followed along this story told in English with lots of French peppered in. I imagined Agathe married to Andre the Giant and am still left curious at the end of "what happens now?" .... but that's the lovely part of life.... we never actually know.

  19. 5 out of 5

    JenniferD

    the jury for the 2017 giller prize announced their longlist this past week. ∙ David Chariandy for his novel Brother, published by McClelland & Stewart ∙ Rachel Cusk for her novel Transit, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd ∙ David Demchuk for his novel The Bone Mother, published by ChiZine Publications ∙ Joel Thomas Hynes for his novel We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night: A Novel, published by HarperPerennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd ∙ Andrée A. Michaud for her novel the jury for the 2017 giller prize announced their longlist this past week. ∙ David Chariandy for his novel Brother, published by McClelland & Stewart ∙ Rachel Cusk for her novel Transit, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd ∙ David Demchuk for his novel The Bone Mother, published by ChiZine Publications ∙ Joel Thomas Hynes for his novel We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night: A Novel, published by HarperPerennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd ∙ Andrée A. Michaud for her novel Boundary, published by Biblioasis International Translation Series, translated by Donald Winkler ∙ Josip Novakovich for his story collection Tumbleweed, published by Esplanade Books/Véhicule Press ∙ Ed O’Loughlin for his novel Minds of Winter, published by House of Anansi Press ∙ Zoey Leigh Peterson for her novel Next Year, For Sure, published by Doubleday Canada ∙ Michael Redhill for his novel Bellevue Square, published by Doubleday Canada ∙ Eden Robinson for her novelSon of a Trickster, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada ∙ Deborah Willis for her story collection The Dark and Other Love Stories, published by Hamish Hamilton Canada ∙ Michelle Winters for her novel I Am a Truck, published by Invisible Publishing of the 12 books, i had only read one - Transit, so... i had some reading to do. i totally expected an eccentric list from this particular jury, but i am only interested in a few of the books nominated: robinson, redhill, o'loughlin, hynes, and chariandy. i had not even heard of winters' book, but once i became aware of it, i was keen to read it. so that's where i started. unfortunately, it didn't do much for me. i did love the arcadian setting, and appreciated both the musical references and franglais sprinkled throughout. there was potential as i read, which kept me turning the pages... but it was just too peculiar for me. the writing was fine, but didn't WOW me as a giller nominee. (the way The Lonely Hearts Hotel did earlier this year, and for which i am gobsmacked over its lack of inclusion on this year's giller longlist. le sigh!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Darryl Suite

    What an unusual book. And I loved every minute of it. One of the blurbs compared it to a Coen brothers movie, and yup, I totally get that. It has that quirky dark humor vibe the Coens are known for. It's impossible to predict where this novel is going. It's about four distinct characters, a Chevy, a disappearance, and rock and roll. I enjoyed this one, but I'm fully aware why other readers would hate it. I want another book.  What an unusual book. And I loved every minute of it. One of the blurbs compared it to a Coen brothers movie, and yup, I totally get that. It has that quirky dark humor vibe the Coens are known for. It's impossible to predict where this novel is going. It's about four distinct characters, a Chevy, a disappearance, and rock and roll. I enjoyed this one, but I'm fully aware why other readers would hate it. I want another book. 

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kimbofo

    If the American filmmakers the Cohen brothers penned a novel it would be something like Michelle Winters’ I am a Truck. This book, shortlisted for the 2017 Giller Prize, is a quirky and unconventional tale about a married couple, living in rural Acadia, whose 20-year marriage falls apart in unusual circumstances. Throw in the wife’s forbidden obsession with rock and roll, a bat in a cage, a lonely Chevy salesman in need of a male friend, a former cheerleader who wants to study computer programming If the American filmmakers the Cohen brothers penned a novel it would be something like Michelle Winters’ I am a Truck. This book, shortlisted for the 2017 Giller Prize, is a quirky and unconventional tale about a married couple, living in rural Acadia, whose 20-year marriage falls apart in unusual circumstances. Throw in the wife’s forbidden obsession with rock and roll, a bat in a cage, a lonely Chevy salesman in need of a male friend, a former cheerleader who wants to study computer programming, and a military man who likes to sing out loud, and you’ll come to understand that this novel really is a peculiar and offbeat one. To read my review in full, please visit my blog.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    This is a gem of a book, with some of my favourite things, like pop/rock music references, liberally sprinkled and not translated second language dialogue, quirky characters and great writing. I can always count on Invisible Publishing to deliver my next favourite book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trin

    It is like a Coen brothers movie, but like...not one of the very good ones. I would much rather read the full story of Debbie, a minor character who disarms men with her former-cheerleader good looks, then uses her innate technical skill to steal their jobs.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Joan

    One of the most enjoyable reads I have found in years. Absolutely delightful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    I easily fall for a quirky title and when I came across this novel as a finalist on the shortlist for the Giller, Canada’s most prestigious literary award, my curiosity got the best of me and I grabbed it. This is the charming and very original story of Agathe and Réjean Lapointe, an Acadian couple who live in Pinto an English speaking town. They are not especially fond of Anglophones and live a remote cottage in the woods, isolated from most of their community. The two are a devoted couple and I easily fall for a quirky title and when I came across this novel as a finalist on the shortlist for the Giller, Canada’s most prestigious literary award, my curiosity got the best of me and I grabbed it. This is the charming and very original story of Agathe and Réjean Lapointe, an Acadian couple who live in Pinto an English speaking town. They are not especially fond of Anglophones and live a remote cottage in the woods, isolated from most of their community. The two are a devoted couple and have been together over twenty years but have no children. They do have a very active sex life, one in which role play is an important ingredient. To anyone looking in, they appear to have a solid relationship, but after all this time together, something is beginning to eat away at their relationship. The most important thing in Réjean’s life apart from his relationship with Agathe, is his black Chevy Silverado. Agathe gets her joy from her relationship with her husband and her culinary skills; her specialty is date squares. Lately she has noticed that Réjean has been acting strangely but knowing their twentieth year anniversary is coming up she thinks it's because he is secretly planning something to surprise her. But one day hwe husband does not return home and shortly after the police show up at her door to tell her that Réjean’s prized Silverdo has been abandoned by the side of the road and that he is nowhere to be found. There does not appear to be a reason for his disappearance; it looks like he just decided to leave. This story follows the lives of Agathe, Réjean and Martin, his friend and Chevrolet dealer. It describes what happens in each of their lives after Réjean suddenly disappears. The story alternates between two corridors of time, the past and the present, with sections titled “Then” and “Now”. In the present section, Réjean has disappeared and readers follow Agathe as she wanders about the cottage, bewildered about what has happened, hurt that Réjean has left her and grieving his absence in her life. She wallows in her loss until she finally decides to accept the fact he is gone and move on. She pulls herself together and gets a job at Stereoblast, a used electronics store. Shortly after she begins work a new girl named Debbie is hired. Debbie is not like Agathe. She is extroverted, confident and determined to have fun in life. She wants to study computer programming, but until that opportunity presents itself she is passing the time working other jobs. Debbie and Agathe begin a fun but unlikely friendship and a new world opens for Agathe, one filled with the English rock and roll she prefers rather than the French folk songs her husband used to play on the radio. It also includes drinks and a little flirting at the bar after work. Debbie even teaches Agathe how to drive and she slowly begins to gain a new sense of herself, developing some badly needed self-confidence and experiencing a world she has never known. In the “Then” section, before Réjean’s disappearance, readers learn about his friendship with Martin to whom he has admitted his sense that something is missing in his life. We also learn what happened to Réjean the day he got in his pick-up truck to go fishing trip with his friends and was never seen again. The story explores the Lapointe marriage before and after Rejéan’s disappearance providing insight into the characters of each partner. It also introduces the secondary characters Debbie from Steroblast and Martin the Chevy dealer salesman who sells Rejéan his new Chevy every year. Although at first it appears the novel will be a mystery/detective story about what happened to Réjean, it is really focused more on what happens to each partner after one of them disappears, and how they each come to discover their own identity after being part of a couple for so many years. This is a charming, zany and very original tale with many “laugh out loud” moments. Most of the dialogue is in “franglais”, a mix of French and English and a crossover of language and culture prevalent among Acadians. It adds an authenticity to the story and although most of Agathe’s dialogue is in French and no translation is provided, the context and basic school level French easily provides meaning to the words. The pages are full of humorous and absurd moments as Winters describes Réjean as a giant and Martin as yellow! When readers discover what has actually happened to Réjean, it is tragic but also unexpectedly very funny. This is indeed a witty tale, one in which Winters has skillfully combined serious themes with humorous moments in a way that all works seamlessly. I was surprised to see this short novel make the final Giller prize list. It is not the kind of weighty literary novel you would normally find as a Giller finalist nor does it have the sort of high level prose one usually finds in an award winner. It is more of a feel good story, but definitely a distinctly Canadian one that is not really about being a truck.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ❀ Susan G

    https://ayearofbooksblog.com/2017/10/... As we get ready to celebrate the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, I am reading my way through the short-list including: Son of a Trickster (Eden Robinson, who I had the privilege to meet at a Laurier event in February), Transit (Rachel Cusk), Bellevue Square (Michael Redhill, who I met in September and a blog post is pending), Minds of Winter (Ed O’Loughlin) and I am a Truck (Michelle Winters). I am a Truck is a very quick read. I would actually suggest https://ayearofbooksblog.com/2017/10/... As we get ready to celebrate the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, I am reading my way through the short-list including: Son of a Trickster (Eden Robinson, who I had the privilege to meet at a Laurier event in February), Transit (Rachel Cusk), Bellevue Square (Michael Redhill, who I met in September and a blog post is pending), Minds of Winter (Ed O’Loughlin) and I am a Truck (Michelle Winters). I am a Truck is a very quick read. I would actually suggest planning your reading so that you can read it all in one sitting. I spread my reading out and feel that the disjointed reading impacted the overall impact of the book, leaving me to feel that I should reread it to feel it’s complete impact. As Agathe prepares a surprise to celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary to Rejean, his beloved truck is found empty, with the door open, on the side of the highway. Rejean is missing, without a trace. The couple had lived an insulated life, speaking in French and living off the beaten path, spending their time isolated from the English speaking community. Rejean liked things a certain way and Agathe seemed to go along with this. With Rejean’s disappearance, Agathe’s life opens up. She mourns his loss by smelling his flannel shirts but meets a new friend, finds a job, learns to drive and starts to enjoy rock and roll. She meets Martin, the salesperson who had sold Rejean the truck and through this character we learn more about Rejean who also mourns the loss of his friend. This is a unique book, it makes the reader ponder… in fact, I am still pondering and think a second read might help. I enjoyed the mix of English and French and needed to translate a few words as I read. It is a book that will spur great conversations at book clubs as readers consider the oddity of each of the characters as they learn more about the disappearance of Rejean. It is written by Michelle Winters, a writer, painter and translator. She is originally from New Brunswick but living in Toronto. I look forward to meeting her at the Between the Pages event at the Koerner Hall, in Toronto, November 6th.

  27. 5 out of 5

    LindaJ^

    3.5 stars rounded to 4.0. On the eve of their 20th wedding anniversary, Agathe and Rejean are separated when Rejean disappears, leaving his newest Chevy truck on the side of the road with the door open and most of his lunch uneaten. Agathe and Rejean are French speakers who live in an Anglo town in Canada. They deeply love each other and have agreed to give each other hand made presents on their 20th. After a couple of months with no information on about Rejean, Agathe is forced to get a job. She 3.5 stars rounded to 4.0. On the eve of their 20th wedding anniversary, Agathe and Rejean are separated when Rejean disappears, leaving his newest Chevy truck on the side of the road with the door open and most of his lunch uneaten. Agathe and Rejean are French speakers who live in an Anglo town in Canada. They deeply love each other and have agreed to give each other hand made presents on their 20th. After a couple of months with no information on about Rejean, Agathe is forced to get a job. She gets a cleaning job at a shop at the mall which buys and sells used electric equipment. There she meets Debbie, who educates her about Rock n' Roll and teaches her to drive. Then Debbie gets a job in the city and moves. Agathe refuses to get back on the bus and starts driving Rejean's Silverado, with the rock n' roll station turned up high. Meanwhile, Rejean still lives but has amnesia. He has been adopted by a quasi French gangster who makes delicious cheese and wine and uses a bit of pressure to get the payments from the merchants who sell his wine and cheese. He also sells guns on the side. Rejean did not voluntarily leave his truck by the side of the road and he did not eat any of his lunch. Rather he had encountered his best friend, the Chevy salesman but Ford driver Martin, having truck trouble on his way to work. After jumping Martin's truck and sharing a joke, Rejean is involuntarily whisked away. Martin is devastated and starts to follow Agathe everywhere, although she does not realize it. This is a quirky, quietly funny, little book. It was a finalist for Canada's 2017 Giller Prize, which is why I picked up the inexpensive Kindle edition. Definitely worth reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Ben, ça c'est un bon livre, ça. I embarked upon a project to read all of the Giller Prize nominees this year and though this wasn't my favourite*, I have a special place in my heart for it. This was a sweet little book that brought a lot of smiles to my face and just felt so lovely and familiar. Beaucoup de mes relations parlent comme ça, as I grew up in a bilingual town with a lot of people who spoke this type of franglais. I felt like I knew ces gens là. I Am a Truck explores big issues like l Ben, ça c'est un bon livre, ça. I embarked upon a project to read all of the Giller Prize nominees this year and though this wasn't my favourite*, I have a special place in my heart for it. This was a sweet little book that brought a lot of smiles to my face and just felt so lovely and familiar. Beaucoup de mes relations parlent comme ça, as I grew up in a bilingual town with a lot of people who spoke this type of franglais. I felt like I knew ces gens là. I Am a Truck explores big issues like loss, belonging, and the need to grow and change. Réjean and Agathe Lapointe are a couple who have been married for 20 years. They have no children and have sequestered themselves in a cabin after moving to an anglophone community for work. "Il n'y a que nous." They have a warm and loving relationship, but we begin to gradually realize that something is missing for both of them. I think Winters has done a great job exploring existential questions in a way that feels relatable and never cynical. It was just a really lovely read. *Of all of the longlisted books, Brother by David Chariandy was my favourite

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I loved the franglais and I loved the women characters, Agathe and Debbie. I wonder how it would have been if the whole story came from Agathe’s perspective. I found her adjusting to a sudden absence of what she’d always known, the upheaval, the most compelling aspect of the novel.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chantel Dandeneault

    This book was hard to read. At times it was very intriguing, but quickly went back to mundane. There is a lot of things that happen that are not that important to the story that just happen. It’s in interesting concept, but I don’t relate to any of the characters. I found it hard to read because the couple in the book are living in rural Acadia so they speak French all the time. I needed google translate to keep up. Over all not my jam.

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