MISE & Agrave; JOUR
A poignant dive into a little-known period in Quebec's history, that of activists who dreamed of revolution. But in everyday life, equality had its dark side.
The characters in Another life is possible , by Olga Duhamel-Noyer ring true because they existed. They were young, educated, energetic and convinced that a better tomorrow was within reach.
So were the 1970s, when this kind of utopia could be rife. To protest was also to dream.
Duhamel-Noyer shows us through the eyes of a child, Valéry. Her mother Micheline is a communist cell leader: the meetings of her group as well as the parties take place at her home on Bloomfield Street in Montreal. Without forgetting the visitors to be accommodated. There's really nothing trivial about life.
But once the comrades get home, when you take a closer look, life is no fairytale. Micheline notices this when she decides to end her love affair with José, an ardent Colombian.
She met him while attending a philosophy congress in Colombia – which she teaches. She comes home with him and settles him in her home. But two years later, the breath of love has passed. “& Nbsp; We never belong to anyone & nbsp;”, explains the free woman who is Micheline to her son, angry at the separation that she announces to him.
José, he does not accept it not. He hangs on, with increasingly violent insistence.
Around Micheline, other couples are experiencing tensions. In those years, it was much easier to preach the equality of peoples and workers in the public square than to experience equality in your home.
A photographic gaze
Olga Duhamel-Noyer demonstrates this tension with great accuracy and above all with admirable sobriety.
It is moreover the trademark of this talented writer, who signs here his fourth novel. No fuss, no dialogue, clear sentences, a photographic look.
The description of Micheline's dining room bears witness to this. Macrame hangs from the ceiling, woolen shades cover the lamps, walnuts hang out in a bowl on the table. “& Nbsp; Colorful craftsmanship brightens up the apartment.” Those who have known the era will recognize all of the decor.
The same thoroughness governs the portraits of comrades or of the revolts that erupt in different countries. Like a crash course in what the far left was like before the fall of the USSR. & Nbsp;
Yes, there was this militant bubble, a “warm, protected, bathed universe of solidarity, of hope in the future & nbsp; ”. Happiness – especially for a child. The author recalls this with tenderness, without mockery. The adults, however, had to close their eyes to the cracks: the textile workers not interested in the Combat newspaper handed to them by the militants; the Communist Party's mistrust of homosexuals; the taboo of domestic violence.
So the bubble will burst. And the struggles will change: after all, wanting peace on a daily basis is also another possible life.