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Nelly Arcan

Quebec author Nelly Arcan committed suicide in 2009 at the age of 36, so one might expect this translation of her last novel, Paradis, clef an main, about a young woman living as a paraplegic after a failed suicide attempt, to be a bit bleak. Instead, it’s a fresh, profound, and imaginative investigation into the timeless question of what gives life meaning. Set “sometime in the not too distant future,” Antoinette Beauchamp, now confined to a hospital bed, recalls her surreal experiences arranging a custom ending from a sinister (and at times silly) company that specializes in such things. What she finds, in the end, is that the road to death leads to redemption, albeit in unexpected ways.