Upon learning his great-uncle Alfred has suffered a stroke, Richard sets out for Ste. Anne, in southeastern Manitoba, to find his father and tell him the news. Waylaid by memories of his stalled romance, tales of run-ins with local Mennonites, his job working a honey wagon, and struck by visions of Métis history and secrets of his family’s past, Richard confronts his desires to leave town, even as he learns to embrace his heritage.
Evoking an oral storytelling epic that weaves together one family’s complex history, Hold Your Tongueasks what it means to be Métis and francophone. Recalling the work of Katherena Vermette and Joshua Whitehead, Matthew Tétreault’s debut novel shines with a poignant, but playful character-driven meditation on the struggles of holding onto “la langue,” and marks the emergence of an important new voice.