Douglas GloverGovernor-General’s Award Jury Citation

This headlong, intense interior monologue combines humour, horror and brutality with intelligence and linguistic dexterity to forge a revised creation myth for the New World..

  • Winner, Governor General’s Award for Fiction, 2003
  • Finalist, IMPAC Dublin International Literary Award
  • Editors’ pick: Amazon.ca Best Books of 2003
  • Globe and Mail Top 100 books, 2003
  • The Vancouver Sun Top-seven list, 2003
  • Georgia Straight Top twelve books of 2003 (top six fiction)


National Bestseller

  • Independent Booksellers bestseller list, Nov., Dec., Jan. Dec. 2003, Jan. 2004
  • Globe and Mail bestseller list
  • Toronto Star bestseller list
  • Maclean’s bestseller list
  • Edmonton Journal bestseller list


Douglas Glover“[Glover] begins here, at the very birth canal of the nation state we know as Canada, with this shadowy improbable event/non-event, and brings to the pages of his new novel, Elle, a character so torched with life, suffering, humour, and wisdom that she should be depicted on our flag . . . [Elle is] a maginificent hail Mary of pure imagination . . . a ribald, raunchy wit with a talent for searing self-investigation . . . Glover’s prose throughout, while being consistent in voice, is also a rich blend of elegance and punch, raw affect and slippery allusion.” (The Globe and Mail)

“Glover’s Elle, or Marguerite de Roberval, is a magnificent hail Mary of pure imagination: a child of the Enlightenment also versed in Hellenist philosophy and Gallic folk wisdom; a ferociously lustful and free-spirited appetite; a standing code for life when it’s lived between worlds; but also a ribald, raunchy wit with a talent for searing self-investigation. Glover’s prose throughout, while consistent in voice, is also a rich blend of elegance and punch, raw effect and slippery allusion.” (Globe and Mail 100)

“Lascivious, bizarre, entertaining . . . Glover has a wonderful facility for imagery, language, farce, and the grotesque.” (Quill & Quire)

“Knotty, intelligent, often raucously funny and always experimental . . . The Life and Times of Captain N. is considered a CanLit classic, and his newest, Elle, is just as good.” (Brian Bethune, Maclean’s)

“Douglas Glover imagines our history as no one else can . . . Elle also persuades us as a meditation on Canada, which Glover does very well . . . Equal to [Solomon Gursky] in its contribution to Canadian mythography.” (Philip Marchand, Toronto Star)

Douglas Glover“Lusty, lively and lascivious . . . magical, dreamy ambiguities . . . a delightfully ironic and wickedly funny voice, utterly feminine, anachronistic, post-modern . . . Glover has a field day casting aspersions on contemporary realities and imbuing his action-packed text with sharp, sassy wisecrackery . . . With this sexy, spirited, rip-roaring creature, Glover casts a dramatic phantasmagorical new sheen on a chapter in Canadian history that until now has been shrouded in murk.” (Toronto Sun)

“A juicy page-turner . . . a deliciously ironic, often frankly erotic 205-page interior monologue . . . Rabelaisian history that rocks.” (Pat Donnelly, Montreal Gazette)

“A ribald, rollicking, Rabelaisian, risqué, riveting novel . . . Who would have thought a novel set on an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1542 could be so damn much fun to read?” (Vancouver Sun)

“A rivetting tale of adventure and survival as well as a novel of ideas about religion, sexual politics, colonization and language.” (The Ottawa Citizen)

“Superb in mingling historical context, narrative, and especially the discordance between native American and European spirituality . . . both gorgeously descriptive of the ice-bound eastern coast of Canada and funny . . . Her survival throughout and its aftermath back in France illuminate three subjects less skilful authors might take on only singly: the encounter between Christian Europeans and the animist aboriginal North Americans; the way place shapes people and peoples; and the tiny spaces in which women and thinkers were trapped in pre-enlightenment times . . . A packed read, delivering imagery, history, humour, and wonderfully creative writing.” (The Edmonton Journal)

Douglas Glover“Revisits Canadian history in charming, unusual ways [headline] A raunchy romp through the Canadian wilderness . . . Enriched with a wickedly smart narrative, and a post-modern, wise-cracking approach to history . . . The situations [are] both tragic and endearing, and the narrative is peppered with great sidebars about the future of Canadian literature and the revisioning of history (the real savages, as we all know, were the Europeans) . . . a bold and unique rendition of Canadian history.” (The Calgary Herald)

“Lusty, lively and lascivious . . . Canadian history was never so raucous and ribald . . . a delightfully ironic and wickedly funny voice, utterly feminine, anachronistic, post-modern . . . Glover has a field-day casting aspersions on contemporary realities and imbuing his action-packed text with sharp, sassy wise-crackery . . .  With this sexy, spirited, rip-roaring creature, Glover casts a dramatic, phantasmagorical new sheen on a chapter in Canadian history that until now has been shrouded in murk.” (The London Free Press)

“A cross between Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders . . . Elle the book and Elle the girl both have a tremendous energy, a galloping, brawling liveliness.” (The St. John’s Telegram)

“Douglas Glover is a very serious writer. He’s also a wickedly, belligerently, intelligently funny writer with a scatological gift worthy of Rabelais . . . More to the point, he’s one of our most exuberant literary leg-pullers, a postmodern Jekyll and Hyde . . . Elle unfolds like a mad Creation myth dreamed by a French Eve, a Robinson Crusoe in drag, banished to Paradise, otherwise known as Canada . . . Glover’s so-called historical novels are simultaneously so much less and so much more. They are meditative literary pastiches that offer radically alternative views of what Canadians and, safe to say, the rest of the world, conventionally view as our history . . . In Glover’s fevered creative imagination, the colonization of the New World is not only a clash of cultures, old and new, European and indigenous, with their conflicting languages, histories, customs, mores, values and such, but a clash of mythological world views, a clash of dreams and visions. For, at bottom, Douglas Glover is a dreamer, bravely dreaming forward the dream that is Canada into the next millennium.”  (Robert Reid, Kitchener-Waterloo Record)

Douglas Glover“A historical novel with a postmodern heart . . . Elle occupies a frozen nether world between fantasy and reality . . . [Glover’s] prose is deliciously bawdy, his tone lively and hilarious.” (The Winnipeg Free Press)

“Sentence for sentence, Elle was the most exciting book of fiction I read this year, not only because of Glover’s felicity with language, but because of the ideas he explores with singular brilliance.” (The Guelph Mercury)

“A gripping and vivid romp through Marguerite’s quite incredible adventures, seen through the prism of the author’s wild imagination . . . This is not a book for the faint-hearted or the squeamish . . . Elle has much to say about the nature of religious experience and morality, about the concepts of exile and courage, for those of us who want some eat in our reading. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun to read, if, like, me, you tend to flip to the naughty bits first. And it’s based in Canadian history — what could be better?” (The Danforth Review)

“A riot of a riff on that moment in Canada’s past when cultures collided in the New World . . . in hallucinatory prose . . . The story may be just a bit of mythic folklore, or it may be true – Glover’s done a ton of work to get the historical detail right – but either way, he tells it from the point of view of someone in a state just this side of total delirium . . . If only history were taught with books like these. A gem.” (Now, 4-star review)

Douglas Glover“Glover, with his penchant for the vulgar viscera of history, has turned the yarn of the lady of Ile des Demons into a ripsnortingly super book . . . A uniquely Canadian melange of Rabelais and Susannah Moodie . . . It’s Mr. Glover’s puckish but profound imagination, applied to a real event of history, that makes Elle so appealing. He is one of the few Canadian writers looking at the country with a northern version of magic realism.” (Peter Black, Saint John Telegraph-Journal; syndicated in Guelph, Peterborough, Belleville, Ottawa Sun, Sherbrooke Record, Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, Thunder Bay, and on-line in the Log Cabin Chronicles)

“A magical world filled full of bears (not since Marian Engel have bears been so erotic), dreams, and myths . . . There is hardly a paragraph in Elle that doesn’t excite the imagination, barely a page that doesn’t provoke a laugh. Elle provides the kind of reading experience that comes so rarely and, when it is gone, you are left bereft, wanting it to never end. (Owen Sound Sun-Times)

“A powerful verbal energy that demonstrates the author’s love of language and manifests itself in may bizarre, hilarious, and imaginatively compelling ways . . . a man possessed by words, scrambling to get them down (or out) in a state of high glee . . . Glover explores serious moral and spiritual issues, focusing on questions of authenticity . . . [Elle’s] odd combination of humility, wit, and insight makes her more fully and sympathetically human than many a central character in standard realist fiction . . . One of the best writers of his generation, author of some of the most brilliantly imaginative short fiction in the history of CanLit . . . a playful, courageous, intelligent book.” (The Fiddlehead)

Douglas Glover“Dive[s] right through the looking glass to a new territory in which real events are intertwined with stories — and stories within stories — all stitched together with threads of history, geography, biography, and myth . . . A Canadian Wonder Woman . . . Glover’s writing is quick and lush, elegant and erudite. He plays with the possibilities of story and the limitations of language.” (Event)

“The packaging is gorgeous, the story intriguing, and the execution brilliant. A delicious mix of beauty and irreverence, realism and shamanism, fact and imagination.” (Qwerty)

“Fantasy, satire, poetry and comedy of manners contribute in turn to a total picture which finally becomes not just a story but a historical reconstruction . . . Glover presents a fresco in which monsters and heroes struggle for a throne without a pedestal, recalling that the ground on which we stand is not made only of virtues. It is also fed by crimes, lust, and animal sacrifice.” (Le Devoir)

“A powerful and impressive personal experience.” (Le Soleil)



Order Elle

from the Numéro Cinq Bookstore (Amazon)
from IndieBound
from Chapters/Indigo
via 49th Shelf
from the publisher
from Book Depository UK (worldwide shipping)


the French translation from éditions du Boréal


Now also available as an Audible audiobook narrated by Severn Thompson.