A surprise return home triggers a chain of events, their strands weaving together a sinister web of dreams and reality, truth and lies, secrets and spells.

Following in the tradition of Fortier’s absurdist first novel, The Unknown Huntsman, this is a dark and offbeat tale about lost love, lost dreams, and one lost limb.

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A Foreword Reviews Book of the Day

Written by Jean-Michel Fortier
Translated by Katherine Hastings
212 pages • 978-1-77186-214-1 • 8″ x 5″
Publication Date: August 1, 2020

“Distinguished widow in the county of *** seeks to make the acquaintance of a respectable and well-to-do gentleman with a view to uniting fortunes and fates. Serious enquiries only, to be followed by a visit in person. Crooks and destitutes abstain.”


“Through its fine translation by Katherine Hastings, The Electric Baths’s exquisite language and wry omniscience result in a dark, delightful landscape of curious happenings.” (★★★★★, Foreword Reviews)

“a wonderful, quirky and dark read […] Fortier is obviously an author to watch.” (Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings Blog)

“Here, a love story has rat poison, a rope, a one-eyed cat, and more widows than brides. […] The story circles around two questions: What makes a heart beat faster? What makes a heart stop beating? Actually, three. What happens when these questions share a single response? Readers beware: the tub in the honeymoon suite of Fortier’s The Electric Baths isn’t heart-shaped but coffin-shaped.” (Marcie McCauley, World Literature Today)

“The citizens of this community are dealing with an uncanny series of events and emotions that are puzzling and in many cases hard to define. […] unique.” (Steven Buechler, The Library of Pacific Tranquility)

“Fortier (The Unknown Huntsman) threads reality with dreams in this enchanting tale about a small unnamed village full eccentric characters and secrets […] slim and wispy with curious characters and effortless prose.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Electric Baths is a clever book where we’re only really sure what’s happening when it’s finally over […] a fun, enjoyable read” (Tony Malone, Tony’s Reading List)

The Electric Baths is full of secrets; ones that the reader desperately wants answered. It’s also full of eccentric characters; ones that will delight you, trouble you, and make you ask questions […] unique and enjoyable.” (Naomi MacKinnon, Consumed by Ink)

“It would be remiss not to mention Fortier’s style, his originality, his colourfulness. His influences? I could go in a few different directions: Fred Pellerin, Michel Tremblay, Jacques Ferron… all of them good! It makes you want to go back and read his first novel, and to hope there’s another on its way.” (Martin Prévost, pieuvre.ca)

“The latest, second novel by Jean-Michel Fortier was highly anticipated for good reason: with The Unknown Huntsman, its predecessor, Fortier created a world all his own, a world composed of mystery and intrigue in a far-flung, unnamed village, scrambling all our points of reference and using subtle, sardonic humour to take great delight in fiddling with language and narrative techniques.” (Jean-Sébastien Doré, Impact Campus)

“at once mysterious and preposterous. […] What is real? What is false? What is imagined in this world where dreams meet reality? It’s up to each of us to decide! […] Fortier keeps us in thrall with his colourful (slightly old-fashioned) language, his mischievous tone, and the shivers he dispenses as his characters’ misadventures play out on the way to the stormy finale. A delight!” (Josée Boileau, Journal de Montréal)

“[The Electric Baths] explores the porous boundaries that separate dreams from reality, friendship from enmity, truth from lies, life from death. […] Somewhere between a testy fable and a high fever.” (Dominique Tardif, Le Devoir)

Do sleepwalkers dream of electric baths? Jean-Michel Fortier plunges readers into strange stormy nights, leads us along dreamlike paths, and sends shivers down our spines. The author knows how to maintain suspense and excels in the art of presenting a small community that’s being gnawed away at by secrets and fed by rumour, as he proved already in his first novel, [The Unknown Huntsman]. […] An enigmatic, ambiguous novel that has similarities to Anne Hébert’s Kamouraska.” (Marise Belletête, Les méconnus)


Jean-Michel Fortier was born in Quebec City in 1987. He completed a master’s degree in literature at Université Laval before moving to Montreal, where he currently works as a copy editor. The Unknown Huntsman is his first book, and The Electric Baths continues in its absurdist footsteps.



Katherine Hastings

After immigrating to Canada from the U.K., Katherine Hastings spent ten years in Ontario before moving to Montreal, where she completed a degree in modern languages at McGill University. She has worked as a Quebec-based translator and copyeditor since 1995. Her first two literary translations, The Unknown Huntsman and The Electric Baths, were both by Jean-Michel Fortier, with Jean-Christophe Réhel’s Tatouine to come in September 2020.



✓ Author and translator make the perfect match