Years ago, after reading a warm-hearted review in the Globe and Mail, I bought By a Frozen River, a greatest-hits selection of Norman Levine’s work (Lester & Orpen Dennys). The stories were not disappointing. Tight, pithy, replete with thinly veiled autobiographical details of a childhood in Quebec and an adult life spent as an ex-pat writer in, of all places, Cornwall, the stories were short enough that I could read two or three on a twenty-minute bus ride and feel that I’d accomplished something. Though many of the stories are set in and around Montreal, there is little in the collection—the work of a Jewish Anglophone—that could be considered typically Québécois apart from Levine’s demonstration of the province’s cosmopolitan tendencies. In one of my favourite stories, “South of Montreal,” the narrator spends a pastoral summer with two Guatemalans who have come to Quebec to learn English. I often present it to writing students as practice for critiquing each other’s work—“Tell us what you think is working in this story and what isn’t”—since every reader stumbles over the passage where one of the Guatemalans beheads a wounded goose with a bread knife; it never fails that we each have different ideas as to why he behaves that way, and we are equally passionate about why our ideas are right. Perhaps that fiery sort of intercourse is typical of Quebec.