• James Armstrong

The Email Tales a novel in translation from Saint-Lazare author


Mystery, intrigue and a documentary film emerge from Eduardo-Francisco Viñuela’s recently translated work titled The Email Tales.

Saint-Lazare based Spanish novelist Eduardo-Francisco Viñuela recently released his first book in English, a translation of an earlier Spanish work, The Email Tales. “It’s not Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales,” he said with a laugh, describing the novel as a story revealed in a series of email communications amongst a group of characters geographically located in Quebec, Spain and the United States.

It’s a tale of political intrigue, an anti-terrorist investigation and an international counterfeiting scheme. The 175-page story invites readers to immerse themselves in a poetic rendition of ephemeral digital email communications deftly transposed to the solid reality of print. Viñuela has published extensively in his native language in Spain, Chile and the United States.

Early years

“I started out as a poet, a really bad poet,” he said with a chuckle. His writing career began in his native Chile in 1973 on the eve of the overthrow of President Salvador Allende’s government and the beginning of the military junta eventually headed by Augusto Pinochet. Viñuela, employed as a government civil servant, was forced to flee his home as a political refugee.

“I came to Canada at the age of 29 in 1973,” he said. At the time of the coup, it soon became apparent he and others needed to leave Chile.


With the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the Chilean refugees arrived in Canada.

“NATO sent us an airplane. It was a very difficult situation. There were about 50 refugees and we were living in the Canadian Embassy in Santiago,” he recounted. Viñuela resided in Laval for 35 years where he became a founding member of the Laval Literary Association. He continued to write in Spanish and French publishing a book of poems in both languages. “We bought a house in Saint-Lazare 11 years ago,” said Viñuela. “We moved here because my wife was working in the West Island. This is a beautiful place.”

Art and reality

The publication of The Email Tales is his first attempt at translating Spanish to English. “It’s a fair translation,” he said, “but it’s not a style or an exact word for word translation.” The motivation for the novel is based on the author’s observation that people are now connected by email. The Spanish version of the novel became well known in Spanish literary circles in Europe and North America.

Truth and fiction

“I am a writer, not an actor,” said the novelist making the point he doesn’t want to become part of the action. He likened it to being a journalist attempting to tell the truth about a given situation.

“My point is, truth doesn’t exist. Facts are the facts and something happens. The journalist attempts to give an account. Is it the truth? We don’t know.”

Dealing with the ambiguities of telling the truth is a recurring theme in The Email Tales. In the words of the novelist from the third chapter, “Life was a little workshop theater, so to speak, where you could not see yourself working early in the morning to only appear three minutes in the third act before the curtain fell.” From Viñuela’s point of view, life is a bad piece of theatre.

The author is currently working on distributing The Email Tales. Copies are available in the Saint-Lazare Public Library. Watch for it on local bookshelves in the near future.

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