In Return from Africa, Francine d'Amour explores the parallel worlds of interior and exterior travel. Charlotte and Julien, a middle-class Quebecois couple, plan an extended trip to Egypt. After an argument, Charlotte tears up her ticket and refuses to go. Julien calls her bluff and leaves anyway, while Charlotte - too ashamed to remain among her friends - awaits his return in a rented bungalow on the outskirts of Montreal. In a long, rambling monologue to her departed lover, she imagines Julien's progress through the Middle East, recalls previous trips they have made together and examines not only their complex relationship but also the foundation of her own need for perpetual motion.
Return from Africa is a penetrating look at our contemporary compulsion for isolation and alienation. It is also a brilliant depiction of one woman's agonized descent into the inferno of self-imposed exile.
"The characters she creates here, despite the absurdity of their circumstances, are emotionally complex and entirely believable. They also have the type of intellectual lives rarely encountered in English Canadian fiction. These people can quote poetry or reference Egyptian mythology or talk Afghani politics without ever seeming elitist or effete. They are fully engaged with the world socially, politically, and intellectually in a way that seems normal and natural. How refreshing."
"Mature and playful."
"Francine d’Amour displays great mastery in her writing in this book."
"...brilliantly translated by Wayne Grady."