The University of Winnipeg



UWinnipeg Professor Emeritus Dr. Neil Besner to release memoir

A story that covers two continents and seven decades

Fishing with Tardelli book cover

Fishing with Tardelli, book cover

A literary meditation on memory, time, love, and loss, UWinnipeg Professor Emeritus Dr. Neil Besner’s memoir, Fishing with Tardelli: A Memoir of Family in Time Lost, will be published May 24 by Toronto’s ECW Press.

Fishing with Tardelli contemplates the relations among four parents — mother, father, stepfather, and a Brazilian fishing companion — and Besner.

Beginning with an older man’s recollections of himself as a young teenager, fishing in the bay in Rio de Janeiro, the memoir reflects on time lost and time regained. The narration begins in the mid-1940s in Montreal, where two couples marry, divorce, and remarry in new configurations.

Over marriages and remarriages, fathers and mothers become stepfathers and stepmothers and brothers gain and lose stepbrothers and half-brothers, sisters and half-sisters across two continents. The various homes become part of Besner’s internal geography; memory, dream, story, and fable become permeable layers.

The memoir looks back over seven decades, crossing borders to alight in Rio de Janeiro, return to Montreal, and sojourn in Western Canada.

There is a hybrid launch, both in person and online, on Friday, June 10, 2022 at 7:00 pm at McNally Robinson’s, Grant Park in Winnipeg.

Besner began what became a distinguished career at UWinnipeg when he joined the Department of English in 1987. Known for his integrity, love of language, and sharp wit, Besner accumulated an impressive record of contributions in all domains of the University, including scholarship, community, and administration. Besner retired from UWinnipeg in 2017.

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