Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “On the Proper Use of Stars” as Want to Read:
On the Proper Use of Stars
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

On the Proper Use of Stars

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  134 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
A sparkling, inventive debut novel inspired by Sir John Franklin's grand — but ultimately failed — quest to discover the Northwest Passage and by his extraordinary wife, Lady Jane.

Originally published in Quebec as Du bon usage des etoiles, Dominique Fortier's debut On the Proper Use of Stars is as fresh and imaginative as anything published in recent years. It weaves toget
...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by McClelland & Stewart (first published 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about On the Proper Use of Stars, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about On the Proper Use of Stars

A Fatal Grace by Louise PennyThe Cruelest Month by Louise PennyStill Life by Louise PennyThe Hockey Sweater by Roch CarrierThe Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
Québec
99 books — 35 voters
The Wishing Stone and Other Myths Learned on Gull Cliff Island by J.M. LavalleeTurtle Wish by Murielle CyrCape Random by Bernice MorganAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryFall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Read Across Canada
281 books — 74 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Amélie
Feb 23, 2011 Amélie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: québec, relecture, 2015
Il me semble impossible, en contemplant ces forteresses de neige et de glace, de ne pas être pénétré du sentiment de sa propre insignifiance, de ne pas se savoir minuscule et superflu au milieu de tant de beauté majestueuse et sauvage. J'ai pourtant du mal à trouver chez les officiers l'écho de ce sentiment, puisqu'ils semblent pour la plupart insensibles à cette nature qui nous entoure, et dont ils ne parlent que comme si elle était quelque animal particulièrement rusé que l'on s'efforce de déj
...more
Nancy Oakes
Captain John Franklin's final mission of 1845 sets the frame for this novel, as he sets sail to navigate the two ships Erebus and Terror through unexplored stretches of the Northwest Passage. However, On the Proper Use of Stars is not just another account of that expedition; instead, it is a very cleverly-constructed novel that moves back and forth between the Arctic and Victorian London, focusing on the lives of the men stuck in the ice while life goes on with Franklin's wife Jane and her niece ...more
Toni Osborne
Apr 26, 2014 Toni Osborne rated it liked it
This novel is the fictional account of the disastrous attempt by Sir John Franklin and his crew to discover the mythic Northwest Passage. In 1845 they embarked on the Terror and the Erebus for a three year voyage only to be lost for ever in the unforgiving Tundra. What happened is the meat of this stunning story.

This story partly inspired by genuine events and based on real persons is an inventive and elegantly narrated weaving treads in a seamless tapestry of diary entries, scientific diagrams,
...more
Tricia
Jan 09, 2011 Tricia rated it liked it
At times I really enjoyed this novel, and at others it was just meh. Crozier was an excellent character and the main voice for life on board the Terror and Erebus. I found him quite comical and engaging throughout the book.

The chapters are short which makes for a very quick read. The story flipped back and forth from life on the ship to life back home which I very much liked.

The strong, dominant character of Lady Jane was present throughout the entire novel. Although the characters are fiction
...more
Michelle
Jun 21, 2011 Michelle marked it as did-not-finish
Review originally published on my here.

Why I Read It: I received a free un-solicited copy from Random House Canada. I had no idea what it was about, but I thought "Ehh, why not?"

This book was unfortunately a DNF for me. I didn't stop this book because it's a bad book; there was nothing that offended me or angered me or anything like that. There is one thing that really irked me right from the start though: the plethora of POVs and writing styles. We have Francis Crozier, John Franklin and Frankl
...more
Just A. Bean
Mar 22, 2012 Just A. Bean rated it it was amazing
A Quebecois novel about the loss of the Franklin Expedition which I can best describe as "whimsical." a friend has informed me that that is not a word one usually uses to describe that particular tragedy, but I think it suits. The story more or less follows two streams, the diaries of Francis Crozier, Captain of the Terror and a third-person account of Sophia Carcroft, Lady Franklin's niece and companion. Interspersed with this are dialogues between crew members, snippets of Franklin's logs, fla ...more
Yves
Oct 26, 2014 Yves rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: histoire, québécois
Avant la lecture de ce livre, je trouvais que l'histoire semblait prometteuse. C'est le récit romancé de l'expédition de sir John Franklin pour trouver la route maritime du Grand Nord. Malheureusement pour moi, le livre n'a pas répondu à mes attentes.

Pour ce qui est du négatif, je dois commencer avec ce qui m'a achalé le plus. Je n'ai vraiment pas aimé les parties avec Lady Jane et Sophia en Angleterre. je n'y voyais aucun intérêt et ces parties m'ennuyaient beaucoup. Moi ce que je voulais, c'ét
...more
Brian
Jun 08, 2011 Brian rated it liked it
There's a lot to recommend Fortier's novel, in my opinion. It's engaging, for one, and thought provoking. Her use of metaphor regarding Victorian manners and arrogance was generally effective and occasionally poetic. And she achieved some pathos regarding her main characters: Francis Crozier and Jane Franklin.

That said, I felt she missed a golden opportunity to flesh out the plot and provide greater form to her narrative. Relatively unconstrained by known facts, she had free rein to tease the r
...more
Teddy
Sep 22, 2010 Teddy rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
The year was 1845 and Sir John Franklin and his crews on the Terror and the Erebus set sail on a mission to find the Northwest Passage. Everyone, 129 men ultimately perished on the mission. On the Proper Use of Stars is the fictionalized story of what happened.

Francis Crozier was second in command and kept a journal where he wrote day to day about the mission but also about the woman of his dreams, Sophia. Back in England Lady Jane Franklin and her niece, Sophia kept busy while waiting to hear
...more
Marie
Dec 29, 2016 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: français-canada
Vraiment beaucoup aimé, en particulier les différentes voix qui nous présentent des fragments de vies des hommes partis en exploration, de ceux qui les ont envoyés et les femmes qui les attendent. On sent bien l'époque, les attitudes et j'ai apprécié tous ces points de vue. Le fait que Dominique Fortier ne soit pas allée dans le détail, comme par exemple sur la vie au quotidien sur les bateaux pris dans les glaces, m'a beaucoup plu. Elle décrit suffisamment la misère pour que nous comprenions l' ...more
Jocelyn
Oct 04, 2010 Jocelyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
J'ai eu cette sensation d'avoir déjà lu une histoire similaire durant la presque totalité du roman. C'est bien écrit, y a pas de doute, mais il y a comme une touche qui dit qu'on est déjà passé par un endroit semblable et c'est un peu agaçant. L'auteure parle à la fin de certaines références utilisées mais il me semble qu'un bon mot au sujet de Jules Verne aurait eu sa place.

L'histoire est tout de même très intéressante et les personnages attachants. On aurait voulu les accompagner un peu plus l
...more
Gregoire
Un roman intéressant qui met en lumière l'expédition Franklin de 1845 en Arctique Les détails sont d'autant plus poignants qu'un parallèle est fait entre la vie des marins sur les deux vaisseaux explorateurs tragiquement disparus (détails parfois surréalistes à mes yeux) et la vie toute mondaine de ces dames restées sur la terre ferme

Reste que l'auteur restitue le courage (ou l'inconscience) de ces hommes partis à la conquête d'un passage hypothétique dans la région la moins connue et la plus da
...more
Marlo
Sep 03, 2010 Marlo rated it really liked it
I couldn't put this book down. It has great atmosphere, interesting people, and a doomed story. Each person's point of view revealed so much about the other characters, it gave the journal style a subtle sense of humor. (After Crozier writes four long journal pages sharing his view of the crew and the start of the voyage the other ship's captain finally enters one paragraph saying nothing has happened yet and his wife will pad the account later anyways.) I felt for Captain Crozier, I laughed at ...more
Mireille
Dec 03, 2009 Mireille rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent roman. J'ai aimé qu'on suive plusieurs personnages à la fois dans des univers différents sans jamais perdre le fil des histoires. Plusieurs personnages étaient très intéressants et je lirais bien un autre 300 pages sur Adam. J'ai beaucoup aimé également que l'auteure mélange différents "médium" (journal intime, narration "normale", dialogue, pièce de théâtre, poèmes, extraits de menus), c'était très original et cela colorait complètement la lecture. Mon seul bémol est pour la finale qu ...more
Marlene
Jan 22, 2011 Marlene rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. The writing is great. It is a translation, and I wonder if the translation might be better than the original. A good story, lots of history, and fine depiction about life in that time period. The idea of crazy men going into the frozen North (or South) just to see what's there is fascinating. Her descriptions of the whiteness is fabulous.

Not a heavy read, but you will not be able to put it down. So, pick it up. You Sask types will be extra grateful for your cozy homes in the he
...more
Québec Reads
Thousands of people came to witness the departure of the Erebus and the Terror from British soil in 1845; Sir John Franklin was hailed as a hero setting off to conquer the Northwest Passage. But what began as a tremendous expedition set against a sea of cheering voices ended as a lone figure struggling in a vacuum of nothingness, hundreds of miles from anything but ice.

Read our full review here: www.quebecreads.com/stars
Francesco Marchetti
Oct 07, 2011 Francesco Marchetti rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the writing style that Fortier used in this book. I found the book very good at times while at other I was quite bored with.....I found all the many things that she included throughout the book more a gimmick than serving a real purpose and was I little bit disappointed that she did not develop more the character of the assistant cook. in the end, a decent book that could have been much better...
John Martel
Dec 01, 2010 John Martel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
L'histoire de l'Erebus et du Terror est fascinante. On se prend à y croire et on a l'impression de lire le journal de bord de Crozier.

La facette concernant la société victorienne n'est pas assez développée à mon goût. On n'a jamais l'impression de vraiment entrer dans le quotidien de Lady Jane et Sophia.
Marti
May 21, 2015 Marti rated it liked it
Fine reading, although I did prefer "Wonder" by the same author. However I did appreciate how unprepared for hardships the explorers were, setting out with the expectations of living in the same privileged way they were used to in their Victorian English homes. Also the contrast on how their loved ones and acquaintances grandly traveled while they were in the frigid North.
Susie
Dec 13, 2016 Susie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Livre fantastique sur l'expédition de Franklin à la recherche du passage du Nord-Ouest. Il s'agit d'un roman qui est raconté en grande partie à travers le journal personnel de Francis Crozier qui est le second de l'expédition. L'auteure nous aussi ce qui fait Lady Franklin pendant que son mari est pris dans les glaces. Le livre est vraiment agréable à lire.
Ellen
Mar 07, 2015 Ellen added it
Shelves: not-finished
Just couldn't get into it.
Chantale
Feb 05, 2011 Chantale rated it it was ok
At times it was gripping and at others I was bored. It could be that the French version is better. This book will make you want to read up on the Franklin expedition and Lady Jane Franklin.
Ian McKinley
Je l'ai bien aimé. Bien écrit, créatif dans sa présentation, et fort intéressant.
Nicole
Dec 05, 2010 Nicole marked it as to-read
cbcreads 2010 book
Maxime
Maxime rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2015
Valentine
Valentine rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2017
Caroline
Caroline rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2012
Annie Bacon
Annie Bacon rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2017
Roxanne
Roxanne rated it it was ok
May 18, 2014
BrokenTune
BrokenTune rated it liked it
Jun 21, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Nicolas
  • Les deuxièmes
  • Les Grandes Marées
  • La femme qui fuit
  • Un ange cornu avec des ailes de tôle
  • Six degrés de liberté
  • L'Avaleur de sable
  • Il ne faut pas parler dans l'ascenseur (Victor Lessard #1)
  • Paul dans le métro
  • Extraterrestre... ou presque! (Le journal d'Aurélie Laflamme, #1)
  • Et au pire, on se mariera
  • L'hiver de force
  • Kamouraska
  • The Douglas Notebooks
  • October 1970
  • Griffintown
2023357
Dominique Fortier est née à Québec en 1972. Après un doctorat en littérature à l’Université McGill, elle exerce les métiers de réviseure, de traductrice et d’éditrice. Elle a traduit une quinzaine d’ouvrages littéraires et scientifiques, dans des disciplines aussi diverses que les sciences politiques, la linguistique et la botanique. Elle vit à Montréal. Du bon usage des étoiles est son premier ro ...more
More about Dominique Fortier...

Share This Book



“Quant à moi, je suis allé au bout de la Terre, j’ai basculé dans ce vide où il n’y a ni monstres marins ni poulpes géants ni sirènes ni même Dieu ; je n’ai trouvé que la nuit dans cet abîme, et c’est sans doute, de toutes les découvertes, la plus terrible.” 0 likes
More quotes…