Pélagie: The Return to Acadie
Translated by Philip Stratford
0-86492-405-4 / $19.99 CDN / $16.99 US pb
In 1979, the legendary Acadian novelist Antonine Maillet won France’s most coveted literary award, the Prix Goncourt, for the original French version of Pélagie-la-Charette, a funny, lyrical account of a daring Acadian widow’s journey home from exile. Years after the Expulsion, thousands loaded possessions and children onto handcarts and set out on foot. After fifteen years of working as a slave in the cotton fields of Georgia, Pélagie, too, sets off to take her people on a 3,000-mile trek back to their homeland. Her single cart soon attracts scattered Cormiers and LeBlancs, Landrys and Poiriers, Maillets, and Légers. Together, they undertake a ten-year journey to their childhood homes.
Antonine Maillet is one of Canada’s best-known writers. The soul of contemporary Acadian literature, Maillet has been responsible for generating pride in her people through her stories depicting strong-willed Acadians. She was the first non-French citizen to win the Prix Goncourt.