“If heaven is full of angels like me, hell must be empty.” So begins Autant, a tale woven over the course of four days and fifty-four years, based on the relationship between bees and one Franco-Albertan family, the Garances, of Autant, Alberta. Tension emerges in the balance of power between siblings, between seen and unseen forces of good and evil, between perception and reality, between loyalty and traitors, and between what we are taught and what we actually learn.
Poised between an ever-practical God and a quixotically old Coyote, it is a tale told to explain the disappearance of bees in northern Alberta and becomes a sometimes not-so-subtle exploration of how old and young, male and female, humans and non-humans perceive love.
Because her parents “made it to a hospital on time,” Paulette Dubé was born in Westlock, Alberta. Growing up in the French village of Legal, she watched her third sister being born on the kitchen table and was hooked on “magic,” as her dad called it. Today, she relies heavily on the good fortune of living in Jasper National Park with her family for her daily dose of magic realism. Talon, her first novel, made the shortlists for the 1999 Canadian Literary Awards, the Alberta Writers’ Guild Best Novel Award (2003) and the Starburst Award (2003). Her poetry garnered a number of rewards including the Milton Acorn Memorial People’s Poetry Award (1994), the CBC Alberta Anthology (1998) and the CBC Literary Awards (2005). Her most recent book is the poetry collection, Gaits (Thistledown, 2010).
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