Peacefully employed on an uninhabited island, Teddy Bear, a translator of comic strips, lives in the company of his faithful dictionary, his marauding cat, Matousalem, and the Prince, his tennis ball machine. Convinced that the translator’s happiness is in jeopardy, his boss helicopters in a few solitude-seeking companions: the lovely and elusive Marie, the aging nudist Featherhead with her extroverted Chihuahua in tow, Professor Moccasin, the somewhat deaf comic book scholar, the irritable Author, the Ordinary Man, and the Organizer, sent to “sensitize the population.” The feverish pitch of the island’s discordant chorus rises with the spring tides. Jacques Poulin’s hilarious philosophical fable is an existential masterpiece.
For decades Poulin has been teaching us that great literature can be about small things: the language of love and the love of language, the pleasure of solitude and the grief of loneliness, the value of work and the importance of play. While each of his novels stands on its own, together they create a world that is instantly recognizable and immediately endearing. —Alyson Waters, Yale University
Poulin is a master of imagery and dialogue: they rest like froth on top of something much more murky and morose: an underlying fear of emptiness. —The Silhouette
Shares a mix of detached humour, fantasy and compassion with Vonnegut and Salinger. —Saskatoon Star-Phoenix One of the finest and most underrated novelists in Québec. —The Globe & Mail
The most affecting aspect of Spring Tides, I think, is the unexpected sense of loss that sneaks up on you at the end of the novel, like a sudden deep pain, as if Poulin has been distracting you by making shadows with one hand while the other did its subtle, cutting work. —Nick Ancosta, The New York Sun