Maria Chapdelaine, the quintessential novel of the rugged life of early French-Canadian colonists, is based on the author’s experiences as a hired hand in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area. A young woman living with her family on the frontier in Quebec, Maria endures the hardships of isolation and climate, and chooses between three suitors: a trapper, a farmer, and a Parisian immigrant. Powerful in its simplicity, this novel captures the essence of the virtues of faith and tenacity that are the key ingredients of survivance. Translated into many languages and with some two hundred editions, it is enshrined as a classic of Canadian letters. A new introduction provides insights into Hmon’s life.
Louis Hémon was born in 1880 and was raised in Paris, where he qualified for the French Colonial Service. Unwilling to accept a posting to Africa, Hémon embarked on a career as a sports writer and moved to London. He was also developing talent as a fiction writer. He sailed for Quebec in 1911 and died in 1913.