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Fiction Literary

The Angel's Jig

by (author) Daniel Poliquin

translated by Wayne Grady

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Apr 2016
Literary, Historical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price

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Long-shortlisted, 2017 ReLit Awards

Facing the dwindling years of his life, an old man waits for his turn on the auction block, hoping to be sold to a family as decent as the one he is leaving. It is not the first time he has been here, and it may not be the last.

Mute in life but loquacious on the page, the old man tells the colourful story of his rootless life. Abandoned by his family and first auctioned off at the age of seven — "Ladies and gentlemen, this boy may not be a rare gem, but he is certainly worth a look" — he moves from one farm to another, taking comfort from the people around him.

Daniel Poliquin's picaresque novel revisits an all-but-forgotten era, when orphaned children and the elderly poor were auctioned into a form of indentured servitude. Narrated through the eyes and ears of an unforgettable protagonist, The Angel's Jig is a joyous meditation on identity and the unpredictable voyage of existence.

A French language finalist for the 2015 Trillium Book Award, Le Vol de l'ange now appears in this lyrical translation by award-winning translator Wayne Grady.

About the authors

Daniel Poliquin is one of Canada’s leading francophone writers. The author of nearly a dozen books in French, mainly novels and short story collections, he holds Master’s degrees in both German and Comparative Literature, and a doctorate in French Literature. The award-winning author is also a Chevalier in the Ordre de la Pleiade, a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, and a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa. All of Poliquin’s novels have been translated into English and the author is a noted literary translator himself, who has translated many important books into French, including works by Mordecai Richler, Jack Kerouac, W.O. Mitchell, Matt Cohen, and Douglas Glover. Daniel Poliquin lives in Ottawa, where he works as a parliamentary interpreter.

Daniel Poliquin's profile page

Wayne Grady is the general editor of this series of literary anthologies devoted to the world's natural wonders. One of Canada's foremost popular science writers and the winner of three Science in Society awards from the Canadian Science Writers' Association, he is the author of twelve nonfiction books on such diverse adventures as hunting dinosaurs in the Gobi Desert, investigating global warming at the North Pole, and discovering the wild in an urban metropolis. His books include the bestselling Tree: A Life Story, written with David Suzuki, and Bringing Back the Dodo. His most recent book is the award-winning The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region. He lives near Kingston, Ontario.

Wayne Grady's profile page


  • Short-listed, ReLit Awards

Editorial Reviews

"A joy to read."

<i>Atlantic Books Today</i>

"A warm and whimsical meditation on one man's life and the web that connects him, even isolated by his self-imposed silence, to the lives of those around him."

<i>Publishers Weekly</i>

"Poliquin delivers a thoroughly enjoyable odyssey about a memorable, yet perplexing character and a shocking custom that has all but disappeared from our collective memory."

<i>Quill & Quire</i>

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