Archives of Joy: Reflections on Animals and the Nature of Being
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About the Author
Jean-François Beauchemin is a prolific French-Canadian author whose novels, poems, essays, and contemplations have earned great critical acclaim. His work has been called "one of the best-kept secrets" of Quebec literature. He has twice been shortlisted for the Governor General's Award.
"Jean-François Beauchemin looks back, around and into the mystic, to great effect. His brief and often breathtaking reflections on creatures he has encountered throughout his life meld into a salve for the troubled, weary or distracted mind and will appeal to fans of Brian Doyle, Ross Gay and Margaret Renkl. . . [A] small treasure."
"I love this book! In a time when far too many people are estranged from nature, Archives of Joy will make you want to get outside and watch the animals you encounter wherever you are."
--Marc Bekoff, PhD, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals and Dogs Demystified
"I was taken with this book from the first page to the last, but how to describe it? Not poetry, not essay, not memoir, but all of these merging like watercolors on wet paper. Jean-François Beauchemin calls this collection 'a bestiary of memory.' What an apt description! Critters, both wild and domestic, accompany him through his wanderings, and the past, even the time before his birth, shines its light on the path he is walking now. The writing is grounded in the real and earthy, yet the imaginative leaps dazzle and delight. A tortoise contemplates death, God makes an appearance to apologize for giving dogs such a short life, a rabbit takes comfort in tarot readings in his favor. He calls himself 'a man who is always moved and amazed by the brevity of everything.' You, reader, will be moved and amazed too."
--Lorna Crozier, Governor General's Award-winning poet and author of Through the Garden: A Love Story (With Cats) and After That
"Referring to the work as a 'bestiary of memory, ' the author embraces his past as he reflects on moments he's spent with the other denizens of his world in observations on each interaction that move from the practical to the metaphysical . . . A lovely, meditative volume."
Praise for the French Edition
"Reading Jean-François Beauchemin is an experience in itself. It is like an exercise in meditation; like pausing in front of a particular image, in a suspended moment. It is him in the image--as he projects himself--but it is ourselves that we see, or rather those aspects of our own lives which have escaped us."
"[Jean-François Beauchemin] is an author known for his writings about life, full of deep and heartfelt reflection. He opens the door wide to allow us into the core of his being. He is the kind of person you meet and with whom, after the first sentence, and without quite knowing why, you are talking earnestly about the meaning of life."
--Le Passe Mot