The Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle by Monique ProulxThe Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle by Monique Proulx

The Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle

byMonique ProulxTranslated byDavid Homel, Fred Reed

Paperback | May 8, 2003

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Monique Proulx's last novel, Invisible Man at the Window, was first published in English in 1994. Following that is this brilliant, complex, witty, moving book about writing and writers. It was nominated for a 2002 Governor General's award when it was first published in French.

Florence doesn't like writers -- they're so full of hang-ups -- and she likes their books even less, those corpulent things that aren't even true. She only likes Zeno, but she'll never admit it, even under pain of death. Zeno is her partner in their small website construction business, Mahone Inc., which has the brilliant idea of putting lesser-known artists and writers back in the limelight.

Zeno, on the other hand, loves writers, especially Pierre LalibertÈ, the mysterious and mythic novelist who lives like a recluse while awards and trophies tarnish and gather dust waiting for him. Because of Zeno, because of a stolen sentence, Florence finds herself following a trail that could lead her to Pierre LalibertÈ, this impostor who pillages other people's lives as inspiration for his novels.

Proulx plays with the mystery genre, to write about literature and those who create it. But above all this is a book whose engaging characters pull us into their lives.

International journalist and award-winning literary translator Fred A. Reed is a respected specialist on politics in the Middle East. He has reported extensively on Middle Eastern affairs for La Presse, CBC Radio-Canada and Le Devoir. He currently resides in Quebec.Monique Proulx is one of Quebec's most popular authors. A novelist, sto...
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Title:The Heart Is an Involuntary MuscleFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8 × 5 × 1 inPublished:May 8, 2003Publisher:Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:155054991X

ISBN - 13:9781550549911

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from High hope fallen short I had a bit of high hope when I started flipping to page one of this novel - stemmed from both the feel of the writing and the reputation of the author. Love the language, at times incisive and lyrical; whilst being so close to grasp the untouchable, it had fallen short in giving enough substance. A nice read - thought I have found something that could charm me enough, before realizing that I had expected more.
Date published: 2008-05-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Secret Life of Florence The first 20 or so pages in I could not stop laughing at Monique Proulx’s The Heart Is An Involuntary Muscle. Each page must have averaged at least 5 or 6 similes and/or metaphors. And usually they seemed irrelevant. It read like a creative writing assignment by some high school freshman. But then I started to question if it was bad writing or insight into Florence’s (the narrator) true self. For someone who claimed to find books, authors, and their fantasy worlds unnecessary and a bit of a drag, she certainly liked to abstract things. It was then the plot of the book came into focus. Denied affection from her co-worker, Zeno and from her father, Florence seems determined to void her life of any romantic ideas. But as the book progressed, she learns that this would be a denial of her true self and the magical world around her. The Heart is an Involuntary Muscle was an interesting read that simply began to run out of steam. Existentialist dialogue gets old fast and this book oozes it. Also, I found the characters to be melancholy windbags but a book without likeable characters is somewhat original and so they weren’t without any literary appeal.
Date published: 2003-12-04