Book Review: Serafim and Claire 9781770893658

Book Review: Serafim and Claire 9781770893658

LiQ_Mag_July_2015_CoverThis book review first appeared in the July 2015 issue of Life in Québec Magazine and on Quebec news and information portal LifeinQuebec.com.

It is reproduced here with their kind permission.

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Review by Mary Hansen

Serafim and Claire
By Mark Lavorato
ISBN: 9781770893658
Price: $22.95
Publisher: House of Anansi

Mark Lavorato’s Serafim and Claire is a vivid and intricately researched wild romp through Montreal in the Roaring Twenties.

Serafim Vieira, a shy Portuguese photographer, leaves his home in shame following a refused marriage proposal, and arrives in Montreal. Meanwhile, Claire Audette, a bold French-Canadian, is determined to dance her way to the big time in Montreal’s bustling vaudeville and burlesque scene.

Despite their exceptional talent, Serafim and Claire both meet with perpetual professional disappointment. Serafim is ahead of his time with his meticulously developed casual photos that no one will buy, and Claire’s daring attempts to get noticed only get her into trouble.

Her desperate ambition eventually leads her and Serafim down a dangerous path, with a final twist that calls into question the very concept of a lucky break. From the infamous frictions between French-speaking and English-speaking communities and the influence of Italian fascism in Montreal right down to the labels on consumer goods, no detail is out of place.

Lavorato prefaces each chapter with a letter or an in-depth description of a photograph, providing striking context for the story and the times.

Review by Mary Hansen

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