The Douglas Notebooks

Christine Eddie, trans. from French by Sheila Fischman. Goose Lane Editions, $19.95 (174p) ISBN 978-0-86492-619-7
One of Canada’s most prominent translators, Fischman brings Eddie’s award-winning first novel to English readers. The fable has a post-WWII setting, but it is a timeless love story. Romain Brady is unwanted by his parents and mistreated by his older sister. He distances himself from his family through music and literature and plots an escape. Éléna Tavernier also plans to leave her home and abusive father. She finds inspiration among the remaining letters fading from her mother’s poor quality headstone. “Dare to Live,” she reads on the day of her departure. Romain leaves his nouveau riche family to live off the land in a forest. Éléna is eventually taken on as an apprentice to an apothecary in a small town near the forest. While searching the woods for healing plants, Éléna encounters Romain, and their love story begins. A child is born, but tragedy strikes and the baby Rose is left to be raised by a cobbled together family of societal misfits, including Léandre Patenaude, the town’s doctor, and Holocaust survivor Gabrielle Schmulewitz, the town’s teacher. In a slim volume of sparse, poetic prose, Eddie deftly and movingly covers vast territory—what it means to be a family; the fragility of life and of nature; the impact of the war in Europe (woven through Gabrielle’s story line); and progress and development. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Ebook - 100 pages - 978-0-86492-765-1
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