We don't usually notice a new book before we've even had a chance to read it -- but Dominique Fortier's On the Proper Use of Stars, which is to to be released this week by McClelland & Stewart, is a very unusual book. For while it will be (by my count) at least the twentieth novel inspired by the career of Sir John Franklin, it is the very first originally written in French by a Canadian Francophone writer. Originally published in Québec as De Bon Usage des Etoiles in 2008, it's been translated into English by Sheila Fischman. The publisher's website describes it thusly: "A sparkling, inventive debut novel inspired by Sir John Franklin's grand — but ultimately failed — quest to discover the Northwest Passage and by his extraordinary wife, Lady Jane." So of course we're keenly looking forward to receiving our copy -- the more so as it turns out that, according to this article in TheSuburban.com, she was first inspired to write it after learning of the Franklin expedition in the 2005 NOVA broadcast, in which your (usually somewhat more humble) editor appeared as a presenter. So watch this space: we'll review it as soon as possible after it's received!
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