Autumn Rounds

Jacques Poulin

translated from the French by Sheila Fischman
Archipelago Books 2021
A book review by Danny Yee © 2022
Proceeding without drama, Autumn Rounds is an exceptionally gentle novel, a quiet romance with ruminations on aging, books, friendship, and the pleasures of landscapes and nature. The protagonist, simply referred to as Driver, is a man on the edge of retirement who runs a mobile library, taking his book van on a round out of Quebec along the north bank of the St Lawrence river. He meets Marie, a member of a visiting French troupe of entertainers, and they are attracted to each other. The entertainers hire a bus and follow a similar route to Driver's.

This is a romance, but quite an odd one. It is idealised to the point where it barely provides motive force for a plot: not only do Marie and Driver find they have read many of the same books and think similarly about them, but they have no disagreements and there are no obstacles to their coming together other than their own tentativeness. (The point-of-view stays resolutely with Driver.) What gives Autumn Rounds mass and momentum are all the little pieces that it seamlessly fits together: cameos of their friendships with others, a glimpse of the world of ornithological illustration, observations of the Quebec countryside, and so forth.

January 2022

External links:
- buy from
- buy from or
- share this review on Facebook or Twitter
Related reviews:
- more French literature
- more romance
- books published by Archipelago Books
%T Autumn Rounds
%A Poulin, Jacques
%M French
%F Fischman, Sheila
%I Archipelago Books
%D 2021
%O paperback
%G ISBN-13 9781953861061
%P 194pp