As a writer of fiction whose work to date has concerned settings in the United States and conveyed an American sensibility, the proposer's goal is to embark on a new geographical and imaginative domain, and to acquire more of an international, intercultural perspective, enabling him to write about a time, a place, and characters that are not American. Contrary to the standard writer advice: write about what you know, Robert Olmstead tells his students to write about what they do not know and to learn everything they can about it. In that spirit he will travel up the St. Lawrence this winter and into northern Quebec to find the setting and the characters for a new novel. It is a geography from where his father's family migrated into America in the early 20th century. His ambition is to write a time and a place and unlike his previous work, characters that are not American. The time of interest is in the very late 19th century. The story is perhaps in the logging camps, or the wilderness, or the little dairy farming villages. Maybe it is on the ice, or the shores of the Gaspe. Maybe the Laurentians. Maybe the city itself. He intends to focus on Quebec City and Lac Saint-Jean to its north and the valley of the Saguenay. It will be a novel that begins on the edge of the unmapped wilderness, a place where the roads, following the contours of the land, end their sinuous ways and vastness begins.