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Fiction Multiple Timelines


A Novel

by (author) Dominique Fortier

translated by Sheila Fischman

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Jan 2014
Multiple Timelines, Literary, 21st Century
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2014
    List Price

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This second work from critically acclaimed Quebec novelist Dominique Fortier, whose debut was shortlisted for a Governor General's Award in both French and English, is an enthralling shell-game of a novel. Composed of three stories linked by theme and image, it brings alive a captivating cast of characters both historical and fictional. For lovers of boldly original literary fiction such as David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda, and Michael Cunningham's The Hours.
In Wonder past and present, science and emotion, speak to each other to create a brilliant whole from three distinct parts. Readers are swept from a devastating volcanic eruption in 1902 to today's Montreal by way of a scientific love story in Victorian England. Along the way we follow Baptiste Cyparis, "The Man who Lived Through Doomsday," who traveled the length and breadth of the United States with Barnum & Bailey's circus, and meet Edward Love, the mathematician who discovered the mysterious waves that shake the earth. This luminous novel confirms Fortier as both a first-rate storyteller and as a master stylist.

About the authors

Dominique Fortier is an editor and translator living in Outremont, Quebec. Her first novel, Du bon usage des étoiles (2008), was nominated for a Governor General's Award and the Prix des Libraires du Québec, and Au péril de la mer won the Governor General's Award for French fiction. She is the author of five books, four of which have been translated into English: On the Proper Use of Stars, Wonder, The Island of Books, and Paper Houses.

Dominique Fortier's profile page

Sheila Fischman's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Textured . . . elegant. . . . [Wonder] benefits from a limber translation by Sheila Fischman. . . . Fortier’s writing comes to us for the most part unfettered by metaphorical or terminological awkwardness. “On flat ground the tent was visible for kilometres around, like a glittering ocean liner on the plain or some monstrous star fallen to earth,” is about as vivid and unaccented a description as you’d ever want.”
-- National Post

“The novel is divided into three parts, the first two seemingly disparate stories from around the turn of the 20th century . . . [the third] set in 21st-century Montreal. . . . Each part is beautiful and strong enough to stand on its own. . . . Wonder lies in the harmony of things, and Fortier’s novel strikes a wonderful chord.”
--St. John Telegraph-Journal

“A novel that can be enjoyed on any number of levels. You can search for what binds its three separate but subtly entwined sections; you can ponder its elliptical meditation on the age-old theme of art versus science; or you can simply savour it, sentence by sentence, for its finely exectured meld of worldly inquiry and dream-state mood.”
--Edmonton Journal

"Masterful. . . . An exquisite journey."
-- Voir magazine (Montreal)
"A book to read and re-read. A beautiful, beautiful, beautiful discovery."
-- Vous m'en lirez tant, Radio-Canada

"A unique author [and] a rich novel, shot through with metaphor and poetry."
-- Le Devoir
"A pleasure to read. The characters are rich, complex, strange, disconcerting. For those who passionately love literature, in the most noble sense of the word."
-- Anne-Josée Cameron, Téléjournal de Radio-Canada, Québec

"A book to read for the beauty of the images, for the richness of the language, for the magic."
-- Michel Vezina, Radio-Canada

"The writing is magnificent."
-- Andrée Poulin, Radio-Canada

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