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Notes From Exile: On Being Acadian Hardcover – August 7, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


“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.”
Ottawa Citizen

“[Notes From Exile] kept me greedily turning pages.”
–David Macfarlane, Globe and Mail

From the Inside Flap

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (August 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771028393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771028397
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,119,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By T. Carter Ross on June 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
On the surface, Notes from Exile gives a brief overview of the history of the Acadians of Maritime Canada and the difficulties they faced in trying to strike a neutral balance between France and England, resulting in their removal from Nova Scotia in 1755. But wrapped around this history is Doucet's own story as the child of an Acadian father and an English mother who was caught between their two very different worlds.
Doucet is a radio reporter and his sense of narrative is impeccable, but while he makes Notes from Exile an interesting read is the intertwining tales of Doucet's youth, the 1994 Acadian World Congress and the history of the Acadians. As frustrating as it sometimes can be, this blending of tales helps underscore how the events of 1755 remain relevant to Acadians nearly 250 years later.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Casseopeia77 on April 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book has been in my bloated personal library since 2003, this review being written in retrospect in late 2008. While I've rarely met a book that I didn't like, this tome has earned a permanent place of honor at my bedside. Given that I am pretty much bed-ridden and always in the middle of at least three books, we're talking prime real estate. What did Msr. Doucet do to merit such a choice location? He plumbed the depths of his own heart and shared it with us. In the course of doing so, he spoke for all of us "on being Acadian". I am not ashamed to say that many a page has had a tear gently removed from it.

You see, my bloodlines run back to every founding family of Acadie. I am only the second generation in the entire history of my family to speak English as a first language. My grandparents were required to speak French at home. They did not learn English until their little one-room schoolhouse, taught by one of my great-great-uncles in French, was required to teach and speak only English. At times, a supervisor from the State would stand in the back and punish any child who slipped up with the rap of a brass-edged ruler on little knuckles. Hearing the 'old people' sit and speak French at family gatherings is one of my fondest memories. I used to jokingly tell my son that when it came time for him to take a wife, he needed to go back and find a dark-eyed Quebecois angel, like they did in the time of my grandparents. To my surprise, he did. Imagine that-a teenager taking advice!

Acadie continues to be a bonafide nation, albeit disenfranchised from our homeland. Clive Doucet reminds us of that fact so clearly.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. D Sears on August 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This past summer I was taking a Bicycle Vacation in Nova Scotia and as part of our trip we went to Grand Pre. Though I am a native New Englander, I had only a cursory idea about the Acadian diaspora in the l8th century and no awareness at all of the l994 reunion in New Brunswick. I was actually looking for another book to increase my knowledge and awareness about this subject, when I stumbled onto a copy of Clive's book. While it does finally run out of steam near it's conclusion, it is an fine work in and of itself. But for anyone who wants a sense of the modern Acadian movement it is invaluable. And if one is an exile of any sort--cultural, political, sexual--this provides amazing insight into what it means to be an exile of any type in the modern world.
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By Dianne Thyret on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We visited Grand Pre and the area of the Acadians. This author was wonderful and loved this book. I will read more by him.
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By Anne Forsnes on August 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Compelling and interesting read. If unfamiliar with this culture and history, the book makes for a gripping account. Try it!
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