Not far away from here is a lake. You have to pay for access to its shores, but I know where there’s a hole in the fence. The water will be icy, but it will still be in a liquid state. That’s what I will do today. I will go through the hole in the fence and I’ll dive into the icy water. And then I’ll go home.
Friends since grade school, Céline, Julie, and Sabrina come of age at the start of a new millennium, supporting each other and drifting apart as their lives pull them in different directions. But when their friend dies by suicide in the abandoned city lot where they once gathered, they must carry on in the world that left him behind—one they once dreamed they would change for the better. From the grind of Montreal service jobs, to isolated French Ontario countryside childhoods, to the tenuous cooperation of Bay Area punk squats, the three young women navigate everyday losses and fears against the backdrop of a tumultuous twenty-first century. An ode to friendship and the ties that bind us together, Stéfanie Clermont’s award-winning The Music Game confronts the violence of the modern world and pays homage to those who work in the hope and faith that it can still be made a better place.
Praise for The Music Game
"Stéfanie Clermont confronts the futility of the pursuit of sex, rent, and art with a rare clarity. The Music Game may well show us how to absolve ourselves by sheer force of yearning alone."
—Paige Cooper, Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author of Zolitude
“Here is a clear, burning voice whose subject is uncertainty. Everything is precarious for young people in The Music Game: income, love, gender. This is a moving and melancholy portrait of a generation of urban people who have been promised absolutely nothing for sure.”
—Russell Smith, Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated author of Confidence
"Stéfanie Clermont’s multi-vocal book The Music Game is a compelling debut, precise and vivid in its observations and deeply attuned to the emotional cadences of its characters. By turns, funny, tender, and harrowing, The Music Game tells a story that feels both urgent and elegiac."
—Faye Guenther, author of Swimmers in Winter
"The Music Game is a bruising, jubilant, prismatic book, inhabiting the space where short stories and the novel overlap. Clermont writes with clear-eyed insight, imbuing her characters and their knotty relationships with dazzling vitality, even as many of them question whether they can bear to stay in this world or not."
—Helen Chau Bradley, author of Personal Attention Roleplay
Praise for the French edition of The Music Game
"A remarkably well constructed first book."
—La Presse (Montreal)
"The reader isn't spared the characters' suffering, and what shines is a new voice, one we're eager to hear more from."
—Publishers Weekly (Quebec supplement)
"In The Music Game the moments when everything shifts are numerous and hold readers breathless because we know that nothing can be taken for granted, that a sudden reversal in fate or the unexpected reaction of a female character can turn everything upside down at the turn of a page."
—Les libraires (Montreal)
"The voices Clermont creates make themselves heard as a rich, unusual pleasure of the sort one rarely encounters."
—Revue Spirale (Montreal)
"In spite of the lack of ambition of its rather directionless characters, Clermont’s collection proves to be a work of a breadth that is quite unusual in the Quebec literary landscape."
—Revue Liberté (Montreal)
"The Music Game has a very contemporary vibe in which the desire to live opens a makeshift path between apathy and revolt. Precision, lyricism, deep feeling: a hit for the youth of the 2010s."—Grazia (France)