What it means to be a people without a nation is one of the more haunting problems of our times. In the twentieth century, this has been an immense issue for Jews, for the Romanies, and for African-Americans; it has been a question for Acadians for more than 350 years.
In 1755, in retribution for their refusal to bear arms, all Acadians were deported from their homeland around the Bay of Fundy in what is today Canada’s Maritime region. Ever since, they have worked hard to keep a sense of their identity as Acadians, no matter whether they lived in New Brunswick or Louisiana, Nova Scotia or Texas.
Clive Doucet has wrestled with the question of Acadian identity since his childhood, when he spent some unforgettable summers with his paternal grandparents in an Acadian village in Nova Scotia and others with his maternal grandparents in London, England. In 1994, he joined with a quarter of a million other Acadians in their first ever reunion as a people, in New Brunswick, Canada. It inspired him to write Notes from Exile, which is in part a charming story of his childhood holidays, a heartwarming account of “les Retrouvailles,” and an eye-opening history of the Acadians, woven into a whole by a thoughtful, challenging consideration of what it means to be Acadian in a world without Acadie.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Clive Doucet
An urban anthropologist by training, Clive Doucet is a graduate of the universities of Toronto and Montreal, and has worked for many years as a public servant at both the federal and provincial levels. He is current the regional councillor for Capital Ward in Ottawa, Ontario.
Doucet’s literary credits include two novels (Disneyland Please, 1979, and John Coe’s War, 1983), a memoir (My Grandfather’s Cape Breton, 1980), novellas (The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene, 1990, and The Priest’s Boy, 1992) and three books of poetry. He has written several plays, one of which, Hatching Eggs, was produced at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Clive Doucet has also worked with the CBC, covering the first world reunion of the Acadians in New Brunswick for CBC Radio. Doucet, whose Acadian name is Clive à Fernand à William à Arsène à Magloire, is married with two children and lives in Ottawa.
“This is imperative reading for anyone whose knowledge of the Acadians comes exclusively from droningly one-sided history lessons and ‘Evangeline.’…Doucet brings Acadie into the living, breathing present.”
–Lynn Coady, Globe and Mail
“Doucet presents readers with a memorable portrait, a richly woven tapestry of history, tradition, and the ties of community connections.”
“[Notes From Exile] kept me greedily turning pages.”
–David Macfarlane, Globe and Mail
From the Hardcover edition.