Magazine article World Literature Today

Boundary: The Last Summer

Magazine article World Literature Today

Boundary: The Last Summer

Article excerpt

Andrée A. Michaud. Boundary: The Last Summer. Trans. Donald Winkler. Windsor, Canada. Biblioasis. 2017. 331 pages.

Crime novels are commonly praised as "page-turners," but there is a different kind of excellence in which each page invites savoring. To hurry through such a book misses the point of its art. Boundary is one of those rare novels, rich in character and detail, evoking a place made as iconic as Yoknapatawpha by the author's sensitive depiction. The story takes place in an area just inside Québec near the US border, where outsiders keep summer cabins and locals struggle through the winter. Three prepubescent girls are enjoying what is likely their last summer of childhood when one of them is murdered gruesomely in the woods with a bear trap.

Told in multiple points of view, with little dialogue, the novel is mostly about the effect this horror has on the people in the area. The architecture of the murder mystery unifies this story, with the usual elements of crime, investigation, and revelation; however, the novel becomes much more than a "whodunit" by using the mystery as a metaphor for the passage from innocence to experience, between knowing the world as a place of wondrous summer days and learning how dark is the night. …

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