There’s no shortage of intrigue in this offbeat debut novel by Jean-Michel Fortier: an unnamed village, a strange and anonymous narrator, an unsolved murder, a mysterious huntsman, and a wisdom tooth extraction gone terribly wrong.

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The “we” narrator’s rambling and often ironic musings are unsettling at first, and the atmosphere vaguely claustrophobic as the tale shifts back and forth between Monday meetings at the parish hall, where villagers air their petty complaints, and their Friday gatherings shrouded in secrecy and presided over by the enigmatic Professor. A bewitching story full of dark humour and laugh-out-loud absurdity.


Written by Jean-Michel Fortier
Translated by Katherine Hastings
192 pages • 9781771860826 • 8″ x 5″
FICTION / Literary
Publication Date: November 1, 2016

chasseur excerpt



Finalist, Grand prix littéraire Archambault 2015



“A debut novel that deserves a place alongside the best, The Unknown Huntsman breaks with traditional conventions of genre and narration, its avant-garde style bringing an exciting new perspective to Quebec literature.” (Émilie Pilote, Les Méconnus)

“This is an intriguing and original novel, the ending of which does not wrap things up neatly so much as introduce an entirely new level of absurdity.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The absurdity, irony, and dark humour make this an exuberant novel and a compelling read. The Unknown Huntsman is all about voice, which translator Katherine Hastings captures flawlessly. She deftly handles the wordplay, the humour, even the malapropisms. It is pitch perfect, not a word out of place—an accomplishment for this first-time literary translator … This debut novel is highly original, shifting between levity and darkness with a masterful hand.” (Rhonda Mullins, The Malahat Review)

“The Unknown Huntsman is a cracking read, a book you’ll race through, but it certainly provides more questions than answers… With his careful blend of farce and black humour, Fortier has created an entertaining novel which works on several levels.” (Tony’s Reading List)

“An absurdist fable bringing to mind Pirandello, Fortier’s debut is a dark commentary on community and intolerance.” (Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail)

“A thoroughly enjoyable read… If you like offbeat, avant-garde humour with a little darkness, then The Unknown Huntsman will appeal.” (The Miramichi Reader)

“An intrigue like no other.” (

“A novel oozing with irony (or is it candour?), enigmatic characters, and absurd situations—a real UFO of a book!” (TVA)

“Fortier has 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)

Jean-Michel FortierABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.



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. This is her first stab at literary translation, a field she looks forward to exploring further.


✓ A first novel with a singular tone

✓ A translation by a first-time literary translator