“Drinks and setbacks of a chipper”: the great return of Diane Delaunais

“Drinks and disappointments of a chipper: the great return of Diane Delaunais


Much to the delight of Diane Delaunais fans, this larger-than-life character first featured in the bestselling Autopsy of a Flat Woman , Marie-Renée Lavoie does it again. This fall, the friendly Diane is back in Drinks and setbacks of a chipper, a very lively novel, filled with humor and incredible situations. It's great to see how the incomparable Diane is doing with a temporary contract as “Professional and Digital Team Synergy Manager”. The task may turn out to be more difficult than she had imagined!

When Diana had been a supervisor at the small school, she had been able to call on her skills in resolution of juvenile conflicts, management of king parents and various other related tasks.

This time, she finds it very tempting to accept a short-term contract as a “chipper”, a role invented by human resources that Claudine offers her on a silver platter. Will people's behavior be very different from the small school? That remains to be seen!

Marie-Renée Lavoie let loose in this novel and Diane sees all the colors. We find the sense of derision of the author, who is unparalleled in describing the absurdity of certain everyday situations… while demonstrating great mastery of writing.

“I really like my character of Diane in her friendship with Claudine. I have a duo that looks a bit like me and that goes in the direction of life-saving friendship. It's a part of me that's a little funny and even her misfortunes can become a little funny”, she comments.

Diane's contract

Diane returned unexpectedly. “I was writing a heavier, darker book. And I left to see if my Diane wanted to move a little. It came quite naturally. Writing it every day, after a day's work, I thought it was a bit like going to take a hot bath!”

She consciously chose lightness and organized herself so that turns of phrase are funny.

“I didn't bring in the disease. I try not to talk about a pandemic. I offered myself the pleasure of going to a world that was not pink… but green. Diane, if I had to give a color to her universe, it would be green.”

This writing did him good. “When I put the end point, I said to myself: ah! I had a good time! I hope we will have fun reading it.”

Diane has to fix a lot of things in the teams. She needs to fix… the synergy. Team spirit damaged. Calming tensions and rivalries. 

“It’s like a quilt with the seams bursting all over the place. We know how to quarrel… but quarreling is better,” she explains.

Marie-Renée finds that the world, these days, really needs splicers like Diane, social weavers.

The Ostimans

Other good news: fans of the Ostimans of Limoilou will be delighted, because these earthy characters occupy a greater place in the novel. They always have a “little fret” on hand and the right tools to fix just about anything. 

“They even have names this time!”, remarks Marie-Renée. 

“They were part of the setting, but they are multifaceted characters. We can do whatever we want with them. I like them a lot.”

They are taken from reality. 

“In the alleys of Limoilou, when I was young, there were plenty of Ostimans. I was walking by and they were like “Hi honey”. They always had their little fret, even in winter: I could see it through their garage door which was open. But it was good people.”

  • Marie-Renée Lavoie has won numerous literary prizes.
  • Autopsy of a Flat Woman, the first volume in the adventures of Diane Delaunais, continued in Diane asks for a recount
  • Autopsy of a Flat Woman has also been published in France, English Canada and in Germany and sold over 15,000 copies.
  • A short story, Diane is not out of the woods, was also published in August 2022 in the Draisine collection.
  • Marie-Renée Lavoie also writes for young people. She has published The Curious Story of a Dying Cat, the Zazie series and The Last Camelot.


She pointed to a neon yellow box on the last sheet of the pile in which an elegant number gleamed , shimmering like a polished nugget, while corkscrewing an Aligoté Burgundy beaded with condensation. I waited until I had swallowed a sip of wine before answering, surprise had tightened my gut slightly.

– On the other hand, I know how settle the squabbles.

– What you do better than anyone, darling, I've already told the bosses all that. I even compared you to a dandelion digger, able to reach the deep roots of evil, it touched them a lot, they are sensitive to the grass, these guys.

< p>– It always takes a minimum of qualifications, right?»