Library Book Club
March 26, 2019, 7 pm, Mary J Benson Branch
Kathleen Winter / Lost in September
From one of Canada's most exciting writers comes a gripping, compassionate and stunning novel that overturns and rewrites history. Enter the world of Jimmy--a tall, red-haired, homeless thirty-something ex-soldier, battered by PTSD--as he camps out on the streets of modern-day Montreal, trying to remember and reclaim his youth. While his past is something of an enigma, even to himself, the young man bears a striking resemblance to General James Wolfe, "Conqueror of Canada" and "Hero of Quebec," who died on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. As a young soldier in his twenties, the historical James Wolfe (1727-1759) was granted a short and much longed-for leave to travel to Paris to study poetry, music and dance--three of his passions. But in that very year, 1752, the British Empire abandoned the Julian calendar for the Gregorian, and every citizen of England lost eleven days: September 2 was followed by September 14. These lost eleven days happened to occur during the period that Wolfe had been granted for his leave. Despondent and bitter, he never got the chance to explore his artistic bent, and seven short years later, on the anniversary of this foreshortened leave, he died on the Plains of Abraham.
Now, James is getting his eleven days back . . . but instead of the salons of 18th century Paris, he's wandering the streets of present-day Montreal and Quebec City, not as "the Hero of Quebec" but as a damaged war veteran wracked with anguish. Much like George Saunders in Lincoln in the Bardo, award-winning author Kathleen Winter takes a brief, intensely personal incident in the life of a famous historical figure, and using her incomparable gifts as a fiction writer, powerfully reimagines him. Here is a wrenching, unforgettable portrait--like none you have ever seen or read--of one of the most well-known figures in Canadian history.
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