The Whole Wide World: Childhood Tales


120 pages
ISBN 1-896860-84-2
DDC C843'.54





Translated by Neil B. Bishop

Marguerite Andersen is a professor of French Studies at the University
of Guelph. She is the author of Courts métrages et instantanés and La


Robert Lalonde is an actor, playwright, and novelist who received the
Governor General’s Award (in the Fiction category) for Sept lacs plus
au nord. Set in rural Quebec, the 10 stories in Neil Bishop’s fine
translation of Lalonde’s childhood tales are filled with extraordinary
superstitions, discouraged priests, wingless angels, eccentric adults, a
young boy’s sensuous fantasies, and imaginative, cheerful

In “The Lip-Ribber,” an old mulatto shoemaker introduces the boy,
who is already sensitive to language, to Creole (“an indecipherable
musical dictionary”) and later teaches him to play the harmonica. In
doing so, he opens the boy’s soul to different sounds, skin colors,
and places. All of Lalonde’s childhood tales have similarly deeper
meanings, reminding us of our own formative years.

Unfortunately, the book’s margins are much too narrow, giving the
pages a crammed appearance and inducing in the reader feelings of
discomfort and even claustrophobia.


Lalonde, Robert., “The Whole Wide World: Childhood Tales,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,