Victor Lemetayer is 18 years old and he has had enough of life on the family farm in Brittany. He dreams of wide open spaces and of freedom. One morning he makes a bold move: discreetly he gets ready and boards The Beloved; a fishing schooner bound for Newfoundland.
This book is a novel based on characters who lived; however, because of the hundred years separating me from them, I had to invent their appearance and their personalities. Throughout the novel, certain details of daily life are inventions, but the basis of the story lies in and remains the truth.
The dates of events in the lives of my great-grandparents are exact, as are the details about Victor's life as a fisherman. The archives of the Naval Office, in their exhausting precisions, enabled the reconstruction of his work as a sailor.
I have tried to recreate, without any exaggeration, life during the periods depicted in Brittany, in St. Pierre and Miquelon and in Newfoundland, relying on numerous documents and accounts that persuaded me that daily life, at that time, was lived by people who were unsung heroes.
All of the characters in the book, without exception, seemed to be deserving of my interest and I found myself, more than once, regretting that I had never met them. In writing this book, I have tried to do honour to their memories and to bring them alive in the eyes of their descendants.
In our family, and in the lives of people on Dog Island in general, people don't talk about themselves. By writing this book, I am breaking with tradition and running the risk of making some people unhappy. However, I felt it was more important to preserve this story for our children and our grandchildren than to keep our mouths closed for reasons of tact or proper appearances. I hope that I can be forgiven for this.