7 Books Featuring Québec City

 Interior windows of the bright Maison de la Littérature.
Maison de la Littérature, Jeff Frenette Photography

To soak up the atmosphere of a city and the way of life of its people, you have to get there. But there is another way to get to know the twists and turns of a place. Several writers have drawn inspiration from the places where they have lived or visited, giving the reader the impression of being this character walking through the very heart of the city. Québec City is no exception, which inspired the Les libraires network to highlight these books that describe this city that has so much to tell.

Québec City has an effervescent and diverse literary life. It even was the first French-speaking city to obtain the title of "City of Literature" from UNESCO's Creative Cities.

  • 1 Bury Your Dead - Louise Penny

    Much of this thriller takes place at the Morrin Center, where the library of the Literary and Historical Society of Québec City is housed, when an amateur archaeologist, obsessed with Champlain's burial, is cruelly killed there. Inspector Armand Gamache faces a mysterious case from the past that he must unravel. Thousands of visitors from all over the world come every year to the Morrin Center to see the places where Inspector Gamache conducted his investigation.

    Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, Little Brown and Company

  • 2 Shadows on the Rock – Willa Cather

    Considered to be one of the major writers of the twentieth century, having also received the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, Willa Cather transports us to the time of New France, when Québec was a young city. It is through the eyes of Cécile Auclair, a child who arrived from Paris with her father, that the reader discovers the life of the colony which is difficult, exhilarating and full of promise.

    Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

  • 3 No Great Mischief – Alistair MacLeod

    We follow the reminiscences of Alexander MacDonald on the trail of his ancestors, proud Highlanders who left their homeland in 1779 to build what would become Nova Scotia. They have never forgotten their origins and remained faithful to the values ​​of the past, as for Alexander. This book highlights family stories that leave their marks in us forever.

    No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod, McClelland & Stewart

  • 4 The Invisible Man : a story – Patrice Desbiens

    Bilingual poetic prose of a Franco-Ontarian, this book describes the particular condition of a man who finds himself between two cultures, which makes him invisible to one group or another. In this sense, the texts are not necessarily a translation of one to another but they embody a distinct way of apprehending the world. The narrator sets out to find his identity, which will lead him to Québec City. The more we read, the more what appeared to be a division between two worlds turns out to be a unity.

    The Invisible Man : a story by Patrice Desbiens, Prise de parole

  • 5 Their Wedding Journey – William Dean Howells

    Basil and Isabel March are getting married and during the traditional trip that follows the event, they will go to Québec City, where one can read long descriptions. Loving the realistic style, Howells is a master in the art of observation and strings his novel by portraying with humor things seen and people encountered. This book is the first novel by this important 19th-century American writer and constitutes the first volume of what will be the March Family Trilogy.

    Their Wedding Journey by William Dean Howells, eBooksLib

  • 6 The Seats of the Mighty – Gilbert Parker

    Historical novel set in Québec City in 1759 which depicts the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, that brought victory to Wolfe's English troops over those of Montcalm. The richness of the characters gives a lot of strength to Parker's writing. The romance between Robert Moray, a British soldier taken prisoner in Québec City, and Alixe Duvarney, a young Canadian, is constantly weakened, whether by war, the Church or Tinoir Doltaire, a charming Frenchman who covets the love of Alixe. This fiction, adapted for theatre and television, was very popular by the end of the 19th century.

    The Seats of the Mighty by Gilbert Parker, Wilfrid Laurier University Press

  • 7 American Notes – Charles Dickens

    It was on the Dufferin Terrace, with a view of Québec City's Lower Town, that Dickens met and praised Cap Diamant in 1842, when he was 30 years old. Dickens also offers some amazing phrases about the river, the port, the rooftops and the chimneys of the old town. The great English novelist stopped for a whole month in Canada during his 5-month tour of North America. 

    American Notes by Charles Dickens, eBooksLib

    Happy reading and we hope to see you soon so you can explore the places mentioned in these novels yourself!


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Les libraires

Les libraires, a cooperative of independent libraries, brings together more than 100 independent bookstores from Québec, the Maritimes and Ontario. Its mission is to promote culture and the love of reading.

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