Eucalyptus

Mauricio Segura, trans. from the French by Donald Winkler. Bibiloasis (Consortium/Perseus, U.S. dist.; PGC/Raincoast, Canadian dist.), U.S.$18.95/C$16.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-927428-37-5

Segura, a journalist, documentary filmmaker and author of three novels (Black Alley), was born in Chile but immigrated to Canada and grew up as a Franco-Montrealer. He originally published this novel in French in 2012. Segura writes with a poetic economy of language, using very few words to create meaningful images, such as his description of adopted man whose family name "stuck to him like a birthmark." Winkler's masterful translation is so seamless, readers will think that the novel was written in English. The story is part family saga, part voyage of self-discovery with a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. Alberto Ventura and his young son Marco travel to the town in Chile from which Alberto emigrated for the funeral of Alberto's father. The Venturas are an old-line, landowning, Chilean-Sephardic family living among the indigenous Mapuche people. While in Chile, Alberto must come to terms with shameful events from his father's past and piece together the answers to questions of what or who killed him. Segura's novel and his original voice are important additions to the Canadian canon. (Nov.)