Shortlisted for Canada Reads 2024 • One of Tor.com's Can't Miss Speculative Fiction for Fall 2023 • Listed in CBC Books Fiction to Read in Fall 2023 • One of 20 Books You Heard about on CBC Last Week • One of Kirkus Reviews' Fall 2023 Big Books By Small Presses • A Kirkus Review Work of Translated Fiction To Read Now • One of CBC Books Best Books of 2023 • A CBC Books Bestselling Canadian Book of the Week
In an alternate history in which the French never surrendered Detroit, children protect their own kingdom in the trees.
In an alternate history of Detroit, the Motor City was never surrendered to the US. Its residents deal with pollution, poverty, and the legacy of racism—and strange and magical things are happening: children rule over their own kingdom in the trees and burned houses regenerate themselves. When Gloria arrives looking for answers and her missing granddaughters, at first she finds only a hungry mouse in the derelict home where her daughter was murdered. But the neighbours take pity on her and she turns to their resilience and impressive gardens for sustenance.
When a strange intuition sends Gloria into the woods of Parc Rouge, where the city’s orphaned and abandoned children are rumored to have created their own society, she can’t imagine the strength she will find. A richly imagined story of community and a plea for persistence in the face of our uncertain future, The Future is a lyrical testament to the power we hold to protect the people and places we love—together.
About the authors
Catherine Leroux is a Canadian novelist who writes usually in French.
Susan Ouriou is an award-winning literary translator who has translated the fiction of Quebec, Latin-American, French and Spanish authors. She won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation in 2009 for Pieces of Me by Charlotte Gingras, after first being shortlisted for The Road to Chlifa by Michèle Marineau and then for Necessary Betrayals by Guillaume Vigneault. The Road to Chlifa was also awarded an honour list placing by IBBY (International Board of Books for Youth) as were Naomi and Mrs. Lumbago by Gilles Tibo, This Side of the Sky by Marie-Francine Hébert and Pieces of Me. Necessary Betrayals was also voted one of the 100 best books of 2002 by the Globe and Mail. Another translation, The Thirteenth Summer by José Luis Olaizola, was runner-up for the John Glassco Translation Prize. She has worked as the director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre and as faculty for the Banff Centre's Aboriginal Emerging Writers residency. She is the editor of the 2010 anthology Beyond Words – Translating the World.
- Short-listed, Canada Reads
Praise for The Future
“The Future takes place in a post apocalyptic Detroit where everyone speaks French, which is super cool. It’s the most magical response to the Lord of the Flies, you’re going to meet a group of feral murderous children, whose meditations on life are so gorgeous, and absurd, and perverse that they are poetry. This wild group of children show us a model for a new society where everyone’s dream life is equally important.”
—Heather O’Neill, championing The Future on CBC Canada Reads
“This year’s Canada Reads debates … have the theme 'one book to carry us forward.' As far as that rubric goes, Leroux’s book seems like a natural fit.”
—Steven Beattie, Toronto Star
"What makes The Future hopeful is its imagining of new, organic, co-operative (but not egalitarian) communities ... savage but caring networks: small, local, and while living close to the edge still managing to get by. It may not be progress, but it is adapting to a vision of the future that hits pretty close to home."
—Alex Good, Toronto Star
"This atmospheric novel elevates disparate voices, drawing a complex picture of community-focused life beyond the family unit."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"The Future is a rewarding read, mostly because of the hope it instills. There is some violence, of course, but Leroux’s vision of the future is one where people go out of their way to help each other to survive."
—Winnipeg Free Press
“Leroux brings believability, poetry, and hopefulness to the dystopian narrative of Fort Détroit by steering clear of the many pitfalls of end-times novels ... This permits the novel to imagine infinite small beginnings within the ending, and to show how destruction is balanced by the ever-present promise of creation.”
—Bronwyn Averett, Montreal Review of Books
"The Future is as factual as it is fictional, and the strength, creativity, and humour with which her characters weather each storm that comes their way are truly inspiring."
"Unlike some dystopian books, The Future is suffused with a sense of optimism ... Though their neighbourhood is decaying and the economy is crumbling, the characters reach beyond the every-person-for-themselves trope by celebrating community, the power of cooperation, and hope."
—The Miramichi Reader
“At the heart of Catherine Leroux’s extraordinary novel are the rising and vanishing lifeworlds nurtured by the Rouge River. The children of the Rouge are hunters and prey, remorseless, capable, indelible—‘wildings’ who are simultaneously custodians and seeds of the future. This ferocious, provocative dystopia is a dance of knives, and a deeply moving exploration of our decaying, adapting, ever-changing world.”
—Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
"An inherently fascinating, original, and carefully crafted novel that raises 'alternate history' science fiction to a high level of literary eloquence, The Future is unique, entertaining, and highly recommended."
—Midwest Review of Books
"This is a wonderful and complicated story about unique and intertwined characters. Leroux includes perfectly subtle allusions, and her writing is absolutely beautiful."
"In The Future, old things are dying and new things are growing. That the new things come at the cost of the loss of the old can't help but tint our feelings towards them. It's this grey area that Leroux manages to break light through."
“At the height of her art, in a profound and teeming language marked by dialogues written in an invented patois, Catherine Leroux also gives us a glimpse of a world where nature flourishes against all odds, where legends are brought to life and where magical realism reigns.”
—La Presse, Montreal
“The novel answers concrete questions: what happens after the end of the world? ... Nothing can erase the survivors' traumatic memories but their hope persists and their present is full of intergenerational support and characters who create new ways of living among the ruins ... Catherine Leroux delivers a dazzling and original novel, above all a testament to the humanity and resilience of communities in the margins.”
“This poignant utopia captures how cities have souls, how they live and die, and how they sometimes miraculously rise from the dead. Far from the usual depressing post-apocalyptic novel, The Future is an exhilarating story in which Gloria, who relies on her daily horoscope to guide her, creates a future for her community that is finally able to find wonder after suffering loss.”
—Livres Hebdo, Montreal
“Despite the suffering and horror, despite the precariousness, the novel is full of hope, light and goodness, and offers a vision of intergenerational healing.”
—Le Devoir, Montreal
Praise for Catherine Leroux
“[Leroux] expertly probes fallible, achingly human characters to form a portrait of a lost woman and examine the fragile forces that underlie a life. Gorgeously written, unsettling, and well worth the read.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Leroux skillfully reveals the inner worlds of her achingly human characters and the intricate bonds that connect them to each other. Images from this beautiful and moving book will haunt readers.”
“Leroux is a fearless writer who invokes fable with sure-footed confidence … The end result is a novel that packs a star’s density of rage and love into its pages, a delicate and unflinching look at the impossibilities of womanhood that is nothing short of incandescent. A testament to the power of fable and myth, Madame Victoria is a triumphant feat of storytelling.”
—Quill & Quire (starred review)
“One of Canada’s best and most adventurous writers.”
“A unique and inherently fascinating approach to narrative storytelling, and ably translated into English by Lazer Lederhendler ... unreservedly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review