A review of Hochelaga and Sons by Claude Lalumiere (in Objects of Worship,
Chizine, Toronto, 2009)
By Derek Newman-Stille
I have always thought that Canada needs more superheroes and Claude Lalumiere answered my wishes with Hochelaga and Sons. Hochelaga is a very typically Canadian hero. He is not interested in fighting the big battles of the world, but is interested in working with the ‘little guy’, the underdog.
Hochelaga is a Jewish Montrealer who was experimented on by Nazis during the Holocaust in World War II. The Nazis, in trying to use Jewish people as experiments to eventually create a Nazi race of super-warriors instead accidentally create a Jewish superhero with powers that range from super strength to flight to the ability to learn any language. His multilingual character makes him an ideal hero for the Canadian cultural mosaic, able to speak to the diverse residents of Canada in their own languages. Hochelaga counters the Nazi focus on intolerance with his own interest in being inclusive of diversity and his ability to bring people together.
Hochelaga has two sons, one who inherited all of his superpowers and another who is born with none of his powers. His superheroic son, Bernard, decides to stray from his father’s secular Judaism and instead becomes heavily interested in his own Jewish religion and identity. He finds himself disgusted at the origin of Hochelaga’s powers under Nazi experimentation and does not approve of his father’s use of that power, even if it is to further the quest for diversity. Hochelaga’s son Gordon inherits his father’s interest in the superheroic and envies his brother’s power as much as he is confused by his brother’s disinterest and dislike of that power. When Hochelaga dies, both sons are called to question their moral positions.
Lalumiere uses his interest in diversity and love of moral questions to create a
superhero and superheroic story that causes his audience to question what makes a good hero and develop a renewed interest in supporting the underdog. Lalumiere reminds his reader that the battle against intolerance is ongoing and requires constant vigilance.
Explore this and other works by Claude Lalumiere at http://chizinepub.com/ , and visit his website to see what projects he is working on at http://lostmyths.net/claude/ . If you enjoy this superhero story, you may also want to check out the upcoming anthology by Claude Lalumiere and Camille Alexa titled “Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories”. You can find out more about this anthology at http://tychebooks.com/book/masked-mosaic/