Adrift on the Canadian frontier: The Voyageur, by Paul Carlucci, reviewed

At the core of Paul Carlucci’s debut novel is a protracted medical experiment conducted by one human on another. Set on the Canadian frontier of the 1830s and inspired by historical record, the book takes the strange case of Dr William Beaumont’s tests on Alexis St Martin’s digestive system and spins a marvellously dark yarn around them, exploring the uses and abuses of an innocent. Alex is the innocent in question – the voyageur of the title. Our journey with him starts in raw boyhood, finding him living at the back of a Quebec harbour storehouse. His mother is dead, his beloved petit frère also. His grief-stricken father has sailed