By (author): Paulette Dubé

“If heaven is full of angels like me, hell must be empty.” So begins Autant, a tale woven over the course of four days and fifty-four years, based on the relationship between bees and one Franco-Albertan family, the Garances, of Autant, Alberta. Tension emerges in the balance of power between siblings, between seen and unseen forces of good and evil, between perception and reality, between loyalty and traitors, and between what we are taught and what we actually learn.

Poised between an ever-practical God and a quixotically old Coyote, it is a tale told to explain the disappearance of bees in northern Alberta and becomes a sometimes not-so-subtle exploration of how old and young, male and female, humans and non-humans perceive love.


Paulette Dubé

Because her parents “made it to a hospital on time,” Paulette Dubé was born in Westlock, Alberta. Growing up in the French village of Legal, she watched her third sister being born on the kitchen table and was hooked on “magic,” as her dad called it. Today, she relies heavily on the good fortune of living in Jasper National Park with her family for her daily dose of magic realism. Talon, her first novel, made the shortlists for the 1999 Canadian Literary Awards, the Alberta Writers’ Guild Best Novel Award (2003) and the Starburst Award (2003). Her poetry garnered a number of rewards including the Milton Acorn Memorial People’s Poetry Award (1994), the CBC Alberta Anthology (1998) and the CBC Literary Awards (2005). Her most recent book is the poetry collection, Gaits (Thistledown, 2010).


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Excerpts & Samples ×

1. (God) “There is only love. You are made of and for love. That is what this is. There is nothing else.”

2. (Edgar) “I told her I wasn’t too sure if the bees were Catholic. She said — If they are French, they are.”

3. “Her mother leaned forward, letting the light warm the top of her head. Smoke wisped from her crown, slipped down her shoulders. She was burning out strange thoughts, the black moths called them, by facing the sun, by absorbing light.”

4. (scene in the bar)

Coyote cocks his head. “You need to remember one thing while you are there.”

“Oh? Just one?” She smiles a little crookedly. Taking the cigarette from him she draws on it and blows a perfect square.

He laughs. “Remember, the light is different down there. Your perception will be blurry at the best of times. I call it being lightheaded. Anyways, trust the bees, they know how to navigate down there. If all else fails, follow the bees.”

“Bees,” she repeats, putting the cigarette in the ashtray. She stands and pulls on her cloak, “got it.”

Reader Reviews



114 Pages
8.5in * 5.5in * .32in


May 01, 2018


Thistledown Press



Book Subjects:

FICTION / Family Life / General

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By (author): Paulette Dubé