Ekstasis Releases Robert Lalonde’s Novel “The Last Indian Summer”
CHELSEA, QC, December 31, 2013 – Ekstasis Editions has just released a translation of Robert Lalonde’s novel The Last Indian Summer.
A post-colonial novel of protest, it’s a bewitching and beautiful summer night’s dream, a hymn to passion, nature and freedom that condemns hypocrisy and intolerance. Winner of France’s 1982 Prix Jean-Macé, The Last Indian Summer is Robert Lalonde’s second novel.
Translated by Jean-Paul Murray, it’s the story of Michel, a teenage boy who relates the summer when Kanak, his native friend, helped him discover passion nature and himself.
Michel’s village is a prison where life is feared, where duty and hypocrisy are the fashion. He wants to be break free and start over somewhere else. Kanak will be the witchdoctor of his rebirth, introducing him to freedom, nature and forbidden games – a symbolic union where Michel absorbs Native culture and finds a balance between the spiritual and natural worlds.
But Michel’s relation with Kanak shocks the village because it involves an Indian – a pagan spawned by “goddamned pig-headed savages.” For his crime, Michel is forbidden from seeing the Indian and will be shipped off to school in the fall to forget his summer of discovery. But he refuses to be exiled to some seminary to study Latin and learn amnesia.
An actor, playwright and translator, Robert Lalonde is one of Quebec’s leading novelists. The author of over 20 books, his first novel, La belle épouvante, won the 1981 Robert Cliche prize, while his Le petit aigle à tête blanche won the 1994 Governor General’s award for French fiction.
Jean-Paul Murray is a researcher, translator and communications strategist. A member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada, his previous translations include Robert Lalonde’s Seven Lakes Further North, and Cowboy by Louis Hamelin.
“The Last Indian Summer,” says publisher Richard Olafson” is a brilliant translation. Below is an excerpt:
“I don’t know why, but even today I can see him with my eyes closed. He shines transparently behind my eyelids, in my sightless gaze, his skin still breathtaking in its colour and texture. The sun isn’t on his skin. The Indian was born with the sun inside his skin, as though light and phosphorous coursed though his veins. Each time, I feel that, with a little persistence, I could dive inside him and navigate through the light of his blood and swim in the effervescence of his beauty. But each time, my eyes open too soon, just before I tumble into the red river of his life.”
Since it was founded in 1982, Ekstasis Editions has distinguished itself as a publisher of poetry, fiction and children’s literature.