Bilingual writer Gisèle Villeneuve was educated dans sa langue maternelle à Montréal. Before settling in Calgary in 1978, she honed her other tongue, English, while living in London, England. As a novelist, short story writer, playwright and scriptwriter, she delights alternating freely between French and English. Her novel, Visiting Elizabeth, is to date her most complex hybrid of Canada's two official languages and cultures.
Visiting Elizabeth follows a friendship that begins and ends with a needle. Elizabeth teaches Ariane to speak her mind. So when Elizabeth is struck and killed by a car, Ariane vows to speak for two. Soon, a hybrid language rolls off her tongue. Elizabeths English and Arianes native French are woven so fine they can no longer be separated. Just like the clothes Ariane alters and sews by hand, changing form and function, she discovers irresistible connections between her two languages and cultures, charging them with new energy and rhythms. Her words open a rich sensual world, as physical as the fabrics she sews, as sharp as the needle she threads. Set in the heady moment between Expo 67 and the end of 1969, the story is an adrenaline rush that pulls the reader through the front and back streets of Montr. Wielding her needle, Ariane reinvents herself while keeping Elizabeths memory alive. In the end, the seamstress becomes her own uvre dart.