Childhood memories, family memories

Childhood memories, family memories


What do we want to keep from what the world has deposited in us? How do you sort memories, clean up your memory? What comes back, what goes away? Rafaële Germain, a formidable writer now an orphan, delivers three highly emotionally charged stories in Fortresses and Other Refuges. Three stories linked by the theme of memory. Three stories where memories, observations, observations, questions, sweet moments, difficult moments intertwine. Intense moments of life.

Rafaële Germain, gently but without concession, tells the story of the first years of her mother, Francine Chaloult, the highlights of her life and her last weeks of life, as his memory gradually faded. She died last May.

She revisits moments of her youth, when her father, Georges-Hébert Germain, imagined little chaperones of all colors for her.

Rafaële talks about the memories she inherited, the stories that have been told so much that they ended up entering the family legend and becoming embedded in his memory. Blurry images that she keeps from her childhood, stories from which she built herself. She recounts funny moments, dramas, years of glamorand turmoil, sickness, death. What's left. Those who remain.

Her parents

She started from three memories, at the suggestion of her editor Danielle Laurin. 

< p>“I never thought I would go there. But once inside, I said to myself: so this is what I wanted to write! I wrote last winter and felt privileged. I thought I was doing a really fun job!”, she shares.

What was it like writing about your parents? “It’s two bugs, my parents. My mother, above all, is a bad character! ”, she exclaims. ” I was recounting her memories and I thought I had chosen well, because my memories… no way that I am such an interesting character as her! “< /p>

It wasn't painful at all, she says, even though she started writing when her mother, who had Alzheimer's disease, was already very ill. “I felt like I was learning things. By reflecting on loved ones, on people we have always known, there are really doors that open ajar and peels that peel off. »

Rafaële recounts the genesis of the family, family stories, milestone events that changed the course of people's lives. She speaks, for example, of her mother's idealized vision of marriage when she was young… then of her disillusionment and her change of course allowing her to take control of her life. 

< p>“You can write about anyone in life. But already, I was leaving with a good head start because my “character” was really earthy. She has an incredible past for real. We all have crazy stories in our families… but my subject was not boring! »

A story just for her

Rafaële also talks about her father, who told her the story of Noire-Suie, a tale imagined for her alone. She writes that she was often “ the baboune ” when she was little. 

“In literature, just looking at yourself has its limits. I was trying to find a way to tell our memories, to go beyond that. I wanted to talk about remembrance, in the most universal way possible. 

Rafaële points out that over the past few years, she was surrounded by people who were losing their memories. She says her parents were “ninja of denial” until the end. “Want, don't want, it colors all the thoughts I have had on the subject. “

  • Rafaële Germain was born in Montreal in 1976.
  • She has been working in television for over 20 years.
  • She took her first steps in literature in 2004 with Soutien -pink bra and black jacket, bestseller sold nearly 100 000 copies.
  • In 2016, she signed an essay inspired in part by the disappearance of her father, Georges-Hébert Germain, who suffered from brain cancer that eroded his memory.
  • She works on Marc Labrèche's next talk show and is developing broadcast projects.


The room was filled with pictures. On the small section of wall near the large window, my mother, about forty years old, surrounded by her three daughters, two of whom are already adults. On the bedside table, a portrait of my father and her looking at each other smiling, with obvious complicity. Behind her, above the bed, a montage of more or less recent photos that I had given her for a distant birthday: her parents on the balcony of their house in Saint-Félicien; his mother, on the back of a camel and in high heels, in front of the pyramids; her best friend who died of cancer more than twenty years ago; my father and I in the pink armchair in the living room of my early childhood.