Michel Tremblay 1942–
French-Canadian dramatist, novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter.
Tremblay is considered one of Quebec's outstanding dramatists. His plays, which are noted for their intense, acerbic dialogue, reveal Tremblay's separatist politics and paint sharp portraits of French-Canadian culture. Some of his recurrent subjects include self-alienation, incest, sadomasochism, and absence of choice, which most critics interpret as metaphors for the problems of Quebec society.
Tremblay's best-known dramas include Les belles-soeurs (1973), a diatribe on the cultural plight of French-Canadian women, and Hosanna (1974), an intense study of a homosexual couple struggling with self-loathing and self-denial. But for all of the pessimism which prevails in Tremblay's writing, he consistently ends his dramas on a defiant and triumphant note. Although he portrays social conditions in French Canada as harsh and oppressive, he does not cast them as insurmountable. In some of his dramas, Tremblay endorses the continuing French-Canadian struggle for self-awareness and autonomy by occasionally allowing his characters to transcend their misery through relentless introspection and perseverance.
Tremblay has also produced critically successful fiction. La grosse femme d'à côté est enceinte (1981; The Fat Lady Next Door Is Pregnant) is an imaginative semiautobiographical novel in which Tremblay uses a protean narrative technique similar to that of James Joyce in Ulysses. Contes pour buveurs attardés (1966; Stories for Late Night Drinkers) is a collection of short stories which combine social commentary with a touch of the macabre.