This poignant novel, originally published in French in 1935, is a lyrical evocation of the beauty, the harshness and the tragedy of pioneering life. Based on the author's own experience of homesteading in northern Alberta at the beginning of the twentieth century, the novel tells the story of a young couple from France, who come to the West filled with naive optimism and romantic hope. Like Adam and Eve they end up being driven from their garden of paradise into a world of death and defeat. Georges Bugnet is a writer for whom nature is a mystical wonder filled with immense grandeur and equally immense destruction. He is conscious of humanity's need for humility in the face of that power. This translation by David Carpenter captures the richness of Bugnet's descriptive power of nature and its endearing quality.
"Georges-Charles-Jules Bugnet, pseudonym Henri Doutremont, editor, writer, botanist (b at Chalon-sur-Saone, France 23 Feb 1879; d at St Albert, Alta 11 Jan 1981). A homesteader in Alberta from 1905, Bugnet rarely found favour in the eyes of Quebec literary critics. Nevertheless, the range of his writing, as well as its religious intensity, places it among the most important work in French published in Canada in the 1930s. His work in the hybridization of roses earned him the Chevalier de l'ordre des palmes academiques in 1970. "Bugnet was founder and president of the Association canadienne-francaise de l'Alberta, as well as editor of Union. This interest in French pioneers in Alberta is reflected primarily in his celebrated novel, La Foret (1935; tr The Forest, 1976). His knowledge of and sympathy for the Metis is developed in Nipsya (1924). After Gabrielle Roy, Bugnet may be considered the major francophone writer of the Canadian West." - E.D. Blodgett in the Canadian Encyclopedia. David Carpenter, a former university teacher, is a fiction writer and essayist. Courting Saskatchewan, won the Saskatchewan Book Award for nonfiction in 1997. In 2000 he published his first book of poetry, Trout Stream Creed.