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Mercury Under My Tongue: A Novel

Trudel, Sylvain

122 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1933368969 / ISBN 13: 9781933368962
Published by Soft Skull Press
Used Condition: Good Soft cover
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1933368969 We carry new, used, and remaindered books - some books may have remainder mark and/or underlining. We often have multiple copies per title - and have over 20,000 discounted titles available. Symposium Books is an Independent Bookstore with locations in Providence, RI near Brown University and RISD and in East Greenwich, RI. We are dedicated to providing our customers with the widest selection of scholarly, literary and quality art books. Expedited shipping is available. We pride ourselves on offering prompt, reliable customer service and a no hassle return policy. Bookseller Inventory # 1933368969

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Mercury Under My Tongue: A Novel

Publisher: Soft Skull Press


Book Condition:Good

About this title


Frederick Langlois could be that geeky 17-year-old found in every high school the one who closely clutches his poem-filled notebook, who feels a bit too deeply, who’s just a little too old for his years. But Frederick isn’t in high school. He’s in a hospital ward with other critically ill adolescents, dying of bone cancer. Mercury Under the Tongue chronicles his short stay there, from his distant but friendly relationship with his therapist through comic moments in the ward and his emergent friendships with other teenage patients. Some survive, others are lost, and at the end, Frederick must make a final reckoning with himself and his family, one that is at once dispassionate and deeply felt. Avoiding both misty stoicism and made-for-TV bathos, the book exposes the fallible body as the humanizing factor that grounds spirited adolescent talk, creating a believable, likable protagonist while weaving a compelling, lyrical story.


"Frederick's precise understanding and intense warmth intensify his connection to those who surround him..... He is complex, passionate, loquacious, and thoughtful. He is also in a hospital ward, dying of bone cancer. Though it would be tempting, given this setting and context, to create a pitiable or overtly angelic protagonist, Trudel does an excellent job of avoiding either option. Instead, he creates a well-formed, likable, yet flawed character: a bright, confused, and frightened teenager grappling with existence. Life in the hospital ward, aside from its inherent philosophical musings, is extreme, equally full of heartbreak and dark humor.... This is an affecting, well-conceived story, and its style and themes are sure to strike a chord with readers." -- School Library Journal

"Fréderic's first-person narrative reads like a high-speed train barrelling toward a head-on collision with a mountainside. Trudel, recipient of a 2007 Governor-General's literary award, creates a character filled with the anger and energy of one who refuses to go gently - which is completely understandable when it comes from a 16-year-old virgin dying of bone cancer....Such bare and honest writing is hard to take, but Fréderic is relentless in pursuing truth... At the beginning of Mercury Under My Tongue, Fréderic muses that he will die a man `without qualities, without richness.' That may be true, but in creating Fréderic, Trudel lends a richness to all those Fréderics we will never hear of." -- Elizabeth Johnston, Globe and Mail

"Frédéric refuses to entertain self-pity, and his voice is immediate, winning and utterly believable until the end." -- Publishers Weekly

"Translated from the French and a prize winner in Quebec, this lyrical blend of farce, fury, and sorrow makes an enthralling read-aloud and would be a natural for book groups. True to the teen viewpoint, the physical detail is universal: to wake up happy and then suddenly remember you are terminally ill; to feel only bitter irony every time someone utters the cliché, `Is it nice out?'" -- Hazel Rochman, Booklist

"[Like] a jab to the heart...extraordinarily poignant, hard and magnificent, sad, and dazzlingly lucid." -- Voir

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