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Archives of Joy

Reflections on Animals and the Nature of Being

Regular price $29.95 CAD
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  • ISBN: 9781771649322
  • Tags: All Books, Biography & Memoir, Gifts, Jean-François Beauchemin, Literary Non-Fiction, Nature & Environment,
  • Dimensions: 5.25 x 7.5
  • Published On: 05/16/2023
  • 160 Pages

“Beauchemin discovers again and again that happiness is a function of the connection between beings—the nonhuman animals as well as the human.”—Maria Popova, A Favorite Book of 2023

For readers of Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights comes a joyful, tender memoir of encounters with animals and their potential to transform our lives through joy.

Two mismatched ducks quarrel amorously. A tortoise basks on a rock in the sun. Four deer ceremoniously visit a writer’s garden to announce the arrival of a newborn fawn. In Archives of Joy, renowned poet, essayist, and novelist Jean-François Beauchemin turns his poetic and playful gaze to memories of animals he has known throughout his life, from fleeting encounters to deep relationships. With each meeting, Beauchemin returns to a simple thought: that joy in nature is an essential counterweight to the inescapable awareness of the brevity of life.

In short, humorous, and often dreamlike vignettes, Beauchemin meditates on the mysteries of existence, the alchemy of memory, and the entwinement of the animal world with our own—whether he’s nursing an injured bird back to health, deciphering the gaze of a judgmental cat, or keeping company with a workhorse nearing its death.

His life as a writer and his beloved pet dogs and cats feature often, as do the creatures he encounters in his garden, at farms, or on woodland walks: sparrows, crows, deer, foxes, horses, and cows. Deeply restorative, imaginative, and dreamily poetic, Archives of Joy is a memoir that will stay with readers long after its final page.

Jean-François Beauchemin is a prolific French-Canadian author whose nov- els, poems, essays, and contemplations have earned great critical acclaim. His work has been called "one of the best-kept secrets" of Québécois literature. He has twice been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award.