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Arachnide Editions


Translated by Pablo Strauss • Written by Olivier Dufault

Published September 24, 2019 | ISBN 9781487005993
FICTION / Literary

Cover of Benediction

Regular price $24.95 CAD

400 pages | 8 in × 5.25 in
Print Format

About this book


Pablo Strauss • Olivier Dufault


In 1907, fifteen-year-old Ernest Dufault left Quebec for Montana, where he passed himself off as an American cowboy named Will James. Over the next few decades, Ernest would become a cattle thief, a soldier, a Hollywood stuntman, and a bestselling and award-winning writer of westerns. The cowboy was so successful an impostor he was later inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners. His estranged wife, Alice Conradt, would only learn his true identity when, at the age of fifty, Will James died and left his estate to to a man she had never heard of: Ernest Dufault.

In Benediction, Ernest’s relative Olivier Dufault uncovers the true story of Will’s two years in a Nevada prison for stealing cattle. Using real documents, including letters, telegrams, and court documents, combined with his inimitable novelistic writing, Olivier reconstructs an incredible life where truth and lies were almost indistinguishable.

About the Creators

Pablo Strauss

PABLO STRAUSS grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, and has lived in Quebec City for a decade. His translation of Daniel Grenier’s The Longest Year was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation.

Olivier Dufault

OLIVIER DUFAULT grew up in Acton Vale, Quebec, where he was raised on the stories of his distant cousin’s exploits in the American West. Benediction is his first novel. He lives in Montreal.

Awards and Praise


Longlisted, Prix France-Québec

“A breathtaking novel evoking the great desert spaces of the American West.” — Journal de Québec

“The majesty and the trials of the territory are magnified as much by the language and precision of its author as by the confinement of its hero.” — Le Devoir

“Written with grace and intelligence . . . The work thorough; the details conscientious; the writing is patient, sculpted, and refined . . . A novel dense, rich, and altogether surprising in its evocation of scenes from a century ago.” — La Presse