Acadian wanderers

A Fine Passage

By X. I. Selene

A review of A Fine Passage by France Daigle

Published on April 1, 2003

A Fine Passage
France Daigle

House of Anansi Press

France Daigle’s A Fine Passage is the sequel to Just Fine, but can just as well be enjoyed first. In A Fine Passage, Daigle has written yet another metaphysics: one in which coincidences become visible, bodies influence one another at a distance, and the dead explain themselves. A web of travellers’ chance meetings constitutes an enticing enough premise for a novel, especially with characters as eccentric as a corny holy man of ambiguous faith, an expecting Acadian couple wandering through France, and an ex-painter who wonders why “the names of the major planetary winds no not require capitals.”

A Fine Passage is clear, smooth, and polished. However, those familiar with France Daigle’s work will remark the absence of her trademark: the warm, expansive tones of her voice-of-God narrator, who informs and illuminates with all the earnest drive of a documentary voice-over. Whether holding forth on Alfred Kinsey’s carreer, the formation of deltas or the history of the Nobel Prize, this familiar, enveloping voice always intrigues and transports. In A Fine Passage, the characters have seemingly broken free of this all-knowing authority, choosing instead to lead their own vagabond itineraries, uprooted from facts and history. mRb

X. I. Selene is a Montreal writer.



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