Returning home… Adieu à notre belle vie française

After two and a half years of living in beautiful Dijon, France, a city that we have grown to love, my wife and I are returning to Canada for keeps on Easter Sunday.

Friends on both sides of the Atlantic – and our two sons as well – have been asking us why we are making such a move. They are thoroughly baffled:

  • We can’t be returning for the food and wine.
  • It can’t be for the weather.
  • It can’t be for Ottawa’s architectural splendour.
  • It can’t be for the train travel or the public transit.

What gives?

We’re returning to Canada because we need to be back in our own country where the lives of others will feel less opaque. We need to feel at home.

We’re elderly and we’ve been crushed by the strange and implacable exigencies of life, especially since March 2020.

Most of all, we need to be close to at least one of our sons, for familial love and care. Both of us feel that we’re poised on the threshold of the eternal, and we can’t imagine leaving this veil of tears in exile, in a foreign land.

The brilliant author Mordecai Richler returned permanently to his Canadian homeland in 1972 after 18 years of living in England because he feared his literary vision could not survive the separation from his Canadian roots any longer.

“I couldn’t write novels set in England because I wasn’t brought up there,” said Richler. “I…don’t know what an Englishman does when he goes home at night. I saw writers I knew and respected setting novels in biblical and far-future times. I figured I’d better go home before that happened to me.”

“I’m a Canadian and a Jew and I write about being both. I worry about being away so long from the roots of my discontent.”

“A man without land is nobody,” Richler once wrote.

We too worry about being away so long from our land and from the roots of our discontent.

Le temps passé avec vous fut bref mais tordant/Commander la version française de mon livre – Robert McBryde (


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