Lost in September

Kathleen Winter's novel reimagines the historical life of General James Wolfe, "Conqueror of Canada" and "Hero of Quebec," who died on the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

Kathleen Winter

Enter the world of Jimmy — a tall, red-haired, homeless 30-something ex-soldier, battered by PTSD — as he camps out on the streets of modern-day Montreal, trying to remember and reclaim his youth.

While his past is something of an enigma, even to himself, the young man bears a striking resemblance to General James Wolfe, "Conqueror of Canada" and "Hero of Quebec," who died on the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

As a young soldier in his 20s, the historical James Wolfe (1727-1759) was granted a short and much longed-for leave to travel to Paris to study poetry, music and dance — three of his passions. But in that very year, 1752, the British Empire abandoned the Julian calendar for the Gregorian, and every citizen of England lost 11 days: September 2 was followed by September 14. These lost 11 days happened to occur during the period that Wolfe had been granted for his leave. Despondent and bitter, he never got the chance to explore his artistic bent, and seven short years later, on the anniversary of this foreshortened leave, he died on the Plains of Abraham.

Now, James is getting his 11 days back... but instead of the salons of 18th century Paris, he's wandering the streets of present-day Montreal and Quebec City, not as "the Hero of Quebec" but as a damaged war veteran wracked with anguish. (From Knopf Canada)

Author interviews

Kathleen Winter interviewed onstage at the Writers at Woody Point Festival about her latest novel, in which she imagines General James Wolfe as a contemporary soldier suffering from PTSD. 15:36

Explore the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction finalists:

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