English is Not a Magic Language
By Jacques Poulin
Translated by Sheila Fischman
From award-winning translator Sheila Fischman comes a new novel by bestselling Quebec author and Canada Reads finalist Jacques Poulin, English Is Not a Magic Language. A follow-up to the author's critically acclaimed 2006 novel, Translation Is a Love Affair (Archipelago Books), ... Read more
From award-winning translator Sheila Fischman comes a new novel by bestselling Quebec author and Canada Reads finalist Jacques Poulin, English Is Not a Magic Language. A follow-up to the author's critically acclaimed 2006 novel, Translation Is a Love Affair (Archipelago Books), here we meet reader-for-hire Francis, the little brother of novelist Jack Waterman, whom longtime Poulin fans will remember from previous works as the author's loose alter ego. One call and Francis will arrive at your door in his Mini Cooper, ready to read. He's partial to works about the Natives, the fur trade, and the immense territory the French once held in North America. His principal client is Limoilou, a young woman from Quebec City who still bears the scars she slashed into her wrists at the end of Translation Is a Love Affair, who finds great solace in his reading voice. Altogether, Francis's ordinary life in the shadows of his better-known brother could almost be described as happy. But what is he to make of a missed rendezvous with a mysterious woman? And why have the Mounties suddenly started following him in front of the Plains of Abraham, where New France fell to the British?
Jacques Poulin, born in 1938 in Saint-Gédéon-de-Beauce, Quebec, is one of the leading novelists of his generation. Author of over a dozen novels, including Volkswagen Blues which introduced him to a wider American and Canadian audience he has received many prizes.
Award-winning translator Sheila Fischman has translated over 150 Quebec novels from French to English, including Michel Tremblay, Marie-Claire Blais and Kim Thúy. She is a recipient of the Molson Prize for the Arts.
Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Sheila Fischman was raised in Ontario and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She is a founding member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and has also been a columnist for the Globe and Mail and Montreal Gazette, a broadcaster with CBCRadio, and literary editor of the Montreal Star. She now devotes herself full time to literary translation, specializing in contemporary Québec fiction, and has translated more than 125 Québec novels by, among others, Michel Tremblay, Jacques Poulin, Anne Hébert, François Gravel, Marie-Claire Blais, and Roch Carrier.Sheila Fischman has received numerous honours, including the 1998 Governor General’s Award (for her translation of Michel Tremblay’s Bambi and Me for Talonbooks); she has been a finalist fourteen times for this award. She has received two Canada Council Translation Prizes and two Félix-Antoine Savard Awards from Columbia University. In 2000, she was invested into the Order of Canada and, in 2008, into the Ordre national du Québec, and, in 2008, she received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize for her outstanding contributions to Canadian literature. She holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Ottawa and Waterloo. Fischman currently resides in Montréal.
Praise for English is Not a Magic Language:"Read for the beauty of the text: precision, rigor, and simplicity . .. The qualities of the heart as well as his thoughts filter through the characters" --Anne-Marie Voisard, Le Soleil
,br>"This new novel by Poulin is an elegy to lasting love. " --Robert Lévesque,La Presse