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Sweater Weather

Dec 16, 2022

One fateful day in the winter of 1946, a boy in the village of Sainte-Justine, Quebec, opened his Eaton’s package to find, instead of a coveted Montreal Canadiens jersey, the dreaded blue of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That despised hockey sweater was destined for literary, if not sports, fame.

That boy became author Roch Carrier, who has published some thirty books, run for political office, and headed numerous government agencies, including the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Library of Canada. But it was the NFB’s 1980 film adaptation The Sweater, lushly and wittily animated by Sheldon Cohen, that established Carrier’s reputation as a writer.

Joined by Montreal novelist and hockey enthusiast Maxime Raymond Bock—author most recently of Morel (2021)—Aaron and Naomi revisit Carrier’s story, which for a time graced Canada’s five-dollar bill. What’s been gained, lost and tweaked in translation? How does the tale reveal the tensions between Quebec and English Canada, as well as its author’s political sympathies? And why don’t parents ever understand your fashion choices?

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