Winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award
Peacefully employed on an uninhabited island, a translator of comic strips (codename Teddy Bear) lives in the company of his dictionaries, his marauding cat, Matousalem, and his tennis ball machine (the Prince). Convinced that the translator’s happiness is in jeopardy, his boss helicopters in a few solitude-seeking companions—the beautiful and elusive Marie with her flirtatious cat Moustache; the seductive nudist, Featherhead; Professor Moccasin, the half-deaf comic strip scholar; the moody and contradictory Author; the Ordinary Man; and the Organizer, sent to “sensitize the population.” As the spring tides drag ocean debris onto the shore, Teddy Bear and his companions seek out their own solitudes in this hilarious philosophical fable.
One of the finest and most underrated novelists in Quebec.
— Globe & Mail
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
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
[Poulin] shares a mix of detached humour, fantasy and compassion with Vonnegut and Salinger.
— Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
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