Un pied devant l’autre

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Despite my woeful pronunciation, conjugation and vocabulary when I attempt to speak Canada’s other official language, I’m thrilled to announce that the French translation of Born to Walk has been released by Montreal-based les Éditions Québec Amérique.

Un pied devant l’autre — one foot in front of the other — was translated by the extremely talented and diligent Michel Saint-Germain (whose surname happens to be the name of the street I grew up on in Toronto). It’s the first non-English edition of the book to hit the shelves. Rights have also been sold for Portuguese and Arabic versions, and an English paperback will be published by ECW Press in May to complement the hardcover, e-book and audiobook (available via a free trial!) that are already out there for your reading and listening pleasure.

Here’s what les Éditions Québec Amérique has to say about the book: “Le corps, l’esprit, la société, l’économie, la politique, la créativité, l’âme, la famille : toutes ces dimensions de la vie humaine sont interreliées, et toutes, démontre le journaliste Dan Rubinstein, peuvent être enrichies par ce geste simple, essentiel, qu’est la marche. En combinant fascinant reportage, recherche révélatrice et réflexions personnelles, ce livre le démontre admirablement : l’humain est fait pour marcher. La sédentarité et le recours intensif à l’automobile, encouragés par un urbanisme « antipiéton », sont des facteurs importants, sinon la cause, de bien des maux de notre siècle, tels que l’obésité, l’anxiété, le sentiment d’isolement et les changements climatiques. Il ne tient qu’à nous de changer la donne, individuellement et collectivement, pour les générations futures, de faire un pas, puis un autre, dans la bonne direction.”

C’est bon, n’est-ce pas?

I blame my lack of French proficiency, by the way, on how the subject was taught at the schools I attended in Toronto. It was all grammar and memorization. Nobody said that as a university student I would spend time hanging out in Montreal, and travelling in France, and want to be able to communicate with locals (i.e., meet girls).

And I should note that I actually began to speak French with some degree of effectiveness when I spent two-and-a-half weeks walking through Quebec one winter as a part of a predominantly Francophone and Indigenous group led by inspiring Innu surgeon Dr. Stanley Vollant. That experience figures prominently in the book, and demonstrates once again the power of walking.

If walking can make even me functionally bilingual, is there anything it can’t do?


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