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Poulin, Jacques.

Translated by Sheila Fischman. Toronto, Anansi, c1986. 166pp, paper, $955, ISBNO-88784-149-X.CIP

Reviewed by Philip K. Harber

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

The hero, Teddy (Bear), knows what it is to be marginal: he translates comic strips into French for a living while working as a caretaker alone on an island in the St. Lawrence, playing tennis with a machine for exercise. He appears to have found a sort of happiness with his old cat for company, but as inevitably as the seasons and the tides change, so does his situation. His beneficent boss (God?) sends him one by one, Marie (his Eve), his wife (to tempt Teddy), and a series of nameless archetypes, called the Author, the Ordinary Man, etc. Finally his peace of mind is shattered and his very existence on the island is threatened; he is last seen swimming to another island, perhaps to die.

Is Teddy Everyman or just Poulin's alter ego? He is unable to form a permanent relationship with Marie, who represents the elements of humanity Teddy rejects. In the end, society expels him. The motley collection of islanders provides amusing interplay, but no simple interpertation of this fable can do it justice. The French version has just been reissued by Leméac in their Poche-Québec collection.

Philip K. Harber, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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