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More About This Title Albtraum


Albtraum. It’s the German word for what crawls up and sits on your chest while you sleep, robbing you of your breath, suffocating you, and gives you nightmares. When Benjamin was young, a nightmare came and did more than that….overwhelming him and entering his mouth, and then came the tumor, and then the tumor disappeared. That was when Albtraum was born. He would appear to Benjamin many times throughout his life, out from the shadows, and people would die when he did. Written as blog entries, author Jean Robert Bourdage takes us on a journey from Quebec City to the streets of Toronto, following Benjamin’s descent from young outcast to homeless alcoholic. The rattle of a surreal palm-sized dexterity puzzle of a monkey -the sort where a tilt of the hand rolls the pea-sized ball bearings into the holes of the cartoon art- announces his presence. But Albtraum is no mere phantom. The death and mayhem that ensues almost each time he appears makes him stronger, and the priests certainly believe in him. Soon enough, others begin to see him, too, and soon Benjamin is left to wonder….are there others just like him?

April 30th, 2012. A strange blog appeared online, written by someone calling himself Benjamin Smith. Haunted by a strange creature since childhood, feeling that his end is near, Benjamin tells us his story, but it comes with a warning: Nightmares are real, and they can enter our world.
The young detective must have removed his finger from the fast forward button because the tape resumed to its normal speed. Now I could see myself walking into the alley, sitting down on the crate, burying my face in my hands and sobbing. “Bad day?” asked the senior detective. I didn’t say anything. Fast forward again. It was about 12 minutes of me sobbing, according to the time code on the screen. Then back to normal speed. The two skinheads walking, spotting me, going directly to me. The first punch. Me, falling on the ground. The first kick from the second guy. Then from the bottom corner of the screen, a tall skinny man, black shoes, black pants, black gloves, black hoodie hiding his face, arriving from behind them. Pause. Freeze frame. The senior detective gave me his arrogant smile again. “This guy, you know him?” He could tell my attitude had changed. I was looking at the first physical evidence that Albtraum existed. The camera was a witness that couldn’t lie, exaggerate, change its story or get the details wrong. Albtraum was there, on tape, and I had no idea how to proceed with this.


Jean Robert grew up in Quebec and returned to Montreal in 1989 to continue his studies in drama. He is very active on the commercial side of the acting world these days and has many feature-length films to his credit including The Salesman (2011), 1981 (2009) and 40 is the New 20 (2009). He currently resides in Montreal and also works occasionally in Toronto. Albtraum is his first novel. Check out his official site at