On a cold December night, Robert Lalonde's house burned to the ground. Built and lovingly maintained over the last forty years with his wife, their home was reduced to a pile of rubble and ashes in the middle of a devastated garden. Firemen tried to save the four thousand books inside the burning house - alas, mostly in vain. Though reduced to ashes and smoke, the books were waiting to be reborn. Sifting through the burnt debris, the author finds, unscathed, Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. “I think I'm going to translate Whitman! All Leaves of Grass!” he tells his wife. 'That’ll keep me busy!' Punctuated with passages from the great American poet's masterpiece, this book tells the story of how the writer, driven out of one paradise to witness the building of another, passionately regains a zest for a completely new life. For a whole year, he and his wife hobbled from one cottage to another, waiting for a new home to welcome them. From this tragedy, Robert Lalonde drew inspiration to write one of his most luminous books.
About the authors
An actor, playwright and translator, Robert Lalonde is one of Quebec’s leading novelists. Seven Lakes Further North was a finalist for the 1993 Governor General’s Award for French fiction. His previous novels published in translation by Ekstasis Editions include The Ogre of Grand Remous, The Devil Incarnate, One Beautiful Day To Come and The Whole Wide World.
A writer, translator, researcher and communications specialist, Jean-Paul Murray has translated ten books, including Betsi Larousse and Cowboy, novels by Governor General’s Award winner Louis Hamelin, The Biker Who Shot Me, by Michel Auger, and I Was a Killer for the Hells Angels, by Pierre Martineau. From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Murray was managing editor of Cité libre, a magazine founded by Pierre Trudeau, and was the magazine’s English translating coordinator from 1998 to 2000. Among his Cité libre translations are works authored by Allan Cairns, Jacques Hébert, Mordecai Richler, F. R. Scott, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau.