Lost in September
"Through Kathleen Winter's incredible act of empathy, we enter the world of a character named General James Wolfe -- a tall, red-haired, homeless thirty-something ex-soldier, battered by PTSD -- as he camps out on the streets of modern-day Quebec City, trying to remember and reclaim his youth. In creating this extraordinary character, Kathleen Winter pored over the real-life letters of General Wolfe, which were acquired by the University of Toronto in 2013 for an astronomical sum. The letters, written to his mother, begin when he was a child soldier of 13, and end when he was 32, already a scarred veteran of war, just two weeks before his famous death on the Plains of Abraham. What emerges from this little-seen cache is the opposite of the public face: history portrays Wolfe as the iconic victor but his correspondence reveals a lifelong struggle with melancholy and trauma, a desperate longing for poetry, dance, enlightenment. It also depicts how, at 25, Wolfe was awarded a two-week study leave in Paris. He was ecstatic ... but before he could depart, Britain adopted Europe's Gregorian calendar and the entire country lost eleven days forever: September 2 was followed by September 14. Wolfe forfeited his longed-for leave, and exactly 7 years later, on September 13, 1759, he died. In her inventive retelling, Winter gives Wolfe the gift of those lost eleven days in September -- but in a different era: he is dropped into the world of contemporary Quebec. Her befuddled soldier is determined to reclaim his time and understand what has become of the British North America for which he'd abandoned his personal happiness. What he finds is not an answer, but unsettling questions about the price war exacts and the cost of all empires, past and present"-- Provided by publisher.
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