Not Even the Sound of a River by Hélène Dorion, translated by Jonathan Kaplansky

Not Even the Sound of a River by Hélène Dorion, translated by Jonathan Kaplansky

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Literature in Translation Series
Literary Fiction / Historical Fiction
Publication Date: November 12, 2024
5.25 x 8 inches
180 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN 9781771669139

Trade Paperback
$24.00
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Not Even the Sound of a River is a profound and moving tale of love’s phantom pains as shared through the relationships between three generations of mothers and daughters.

Hanna drives down the St. Lawrence River to her late mother’s hometown, hoping to find out more about the distant woman who began to reveal herself only through notebooks discovered in her effects. As the river widens, so does Hanna’s understanding of the matriarchs in her family. She learns that her mother’s true love, Antoine, died on the river at 20, and that her grandmother also lost a young love to the water. Both remained shipwrecked after tragedy, their tales mirroring other survivors’—such as the few who survived the Empress of Ireland sinking, when more than 1000 people lost their lives on the same river in 1914.

Through multiple perspectives, newspaper accounts, and documents, Dorion exquisitely describes the depths of love, the reality of living when dreams have failed us, and the complex nuance of blood ties. Not Even the Sound of a River is a gentle, exquisite story that defies time or place.

Praise for Not Even the Sound of a River

“A gentle tribute to the power of art, and a call to life.” —La Presse

Not Even the Sound of a River celebrates the beauty of what has remained mysterious in others, and is revealed one day, as a result of time and chance.” —Le Devoir

About the Author

HÉLÈNE DORION is the author of more than thirty books, including works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction. She has won many awards, including a Governor General’s Literary Award. She is a recipient of the prestigious le prix Athanase-David, awarded by the Quebec government for her body of work and contribution to Quebec literature. A multidisciplinary artist, Dorion regularly exhibits her photographs and presents literary concerts with renowned orchestras. Her poetry collection, Mes forêts, is the first work by a living woman and a Quebecer to be added to the curriculum for France’s baccalauréat. Born in Quebec City, Dorion divides her time between Orford and Montreal.


JONATHAN KAPLANSKY won a French Voices Award to translate Nobel Prize winning author Annie Ernaux’s La vie extérieure (Things Seen). His translation of Frank Borzage: The Life and Films of a Hollywood Romantic by Hervé Dumont was a finalist for the Wall Award from the Theatre Library Association. Recent translations include Jonathan Bécotte’s Like a Hurricane, Hélène Rioux’s The End of the World is Elsewhere, and the libretto of an opera by Hélène Dorion and Marie-Claire Blais entitled Yourcenar: An Island of Passions. He has also translated Dorion’s Days of Sand. Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Kaplansky now lives in Montreal.