Format: Trade Paperback
Size: 5.32" x 8"
FIC019000 FICTION / Literary
FIC014000 FICTION / Historical
FIC046000 FICTION / Jewish
FIC047000 FICTION / Sea Stories
Publication Date: July 28, 2012
The year is 1738. Jacques Lafargue, a wide-eyed young Frenchman, arrives in New France aboard the Saint Michel. But before his Canadian adventure has a chance to begin, he is detained at Quebec harbour by suspicious port officials. Their distrust proves warranted: instead of a young man named Jacques Lafargue their captive turns out to be a young woman named Esther Brandeau, and instead of answers to their questions about who she is and where she came from, they are given tales of castaways raised by apes, of blind lovelorn sailors and merciless pirates, of runaway slaves and kindly desert nomads, and of other curiosities in a limitless world.
Few suspect the truth: Esther is a Jew, which by law prohibits her from entering New France, and she is using her tale-telling to escape the restrictions placed upon her race and gender. And no one — not even Esther herself — realizes the power her stories have to open their hearts and minds to old dreams and new possibilities.
The Tale-Teller is a marvel. Susan Glickman takes readers on a journey of discovery — starting with the fascinating true story of an obscure historical figure, and continuing through an intimate and richly-detailed portrait of Canadian colonial society, guided always by a map of wonders — to reveal timeless truths.
Commended, 2013 Vaughan Reads
Commended, 2013 Resource Links Year's Best
“Like Margaret Atwood, Glickman’s intelligence and superior narrative abilities have enabled her to transition skilfully from one genre to the other, and she is at the top of her game in both.”
— National Post
“Susan Glickman weaves history, fantasy, and adventure into her second novel… Somewhere along the way, the reader becomes enraptured with the mystery surrounding this girl [Esther Brandeau] and the stories she tells.”
— Quill & Quire
“A precious novel, a piece of literary perfection that is almost too good to be true.”
— The Sun-Times
“Glickman’s imagination shines in [Esther’s stories], unmoored from the documents that root the historical half of her novel. Appropriately enough, the restrictions of historical fact are felt at the level of narrative much as Esther feels the ties of her own oppressive social world; both language and subjects are freed by the unbounded imagination.”
— Canadian Literature
“Glickman highlights Esther’s crafty ability to tell fascinating and beguiling stories about herself and her adventures that keep her listeners spellbound.”
— Canadian Jewish News
“I’ve read it with great pleasure … the storytelling as salty and exhilirating as the seas over which Esther sails … The sense of what New France might have been like is so convincing … I love Esther because she never tries to pull at one’s heartstrings, and yet she does.”
— Helen Dunmore, winner of the Orange Prize for A Spell of Winter
“The mix of historical and fantastical works very well, and made this a very enjoyable read.”
— The Indextrous Reader
“We are led through beautifully crafted pages of the gruelling interrogations, the religious and cultural pressures, but the unrelenting nature of this enigmatic woman [Esther Brandeau] who would not surrender the essential components of her identity … Finally, a narrative that breathes air into Esther’s lungs and gives her a vocabulary as rich and inspiring as the memory of the historical figure herself.”
— Hamartia and I
“More than a tale … a super yarn … Glickman delivers a refreshing and creative treat to her readers. The Tale-Teller was creative, entertaining and unique. It held surprises and led the reader through many adventures … This story really has it all.”
— What Kinda Book Blog