Reflecting a bygone era through the eyes of a child, the lawyer, psychologist and writer Pierre Rancourt tells with verve a part of the history of Tourville, a small village in the Appalachians, in his first novel, Appointment in Tourville. As it depicts, religion, train, and tv have had their role to play in the development of the region.
At Tourville, in the 1950s, the locomotives were not yet past the diesel and the CN was the main employer, the Tourville is a deposit of coal and lumber.
The Church reigned supreme, the priest had control of his flock and nothing should change. But the arrival of the tv in the houses, with its procession of stars, and new ideas, has changed everything. In the eyes of the young Daniel Boisvert, the more light was called Janette Bertrand and he went so far as to entrust to him a tragedy that has marked his family.
Pierre Rancourt was inspired, in part, from his childhood to Tourville in order to write a juicy novel, full of humour. “I’m starting from Tourville at the age of 11 years. My family moved to Charny and Levis, I stayed in the corner for a good 30 years. I went to Tourville last year – it was 39 years since I had set foot here!”, he shared in an interview.
Memories of yesteryear
The psychologist retired was pleased to sink back into memories of his childhood, in the Tourville of yesteryear. “I have no nostalgia for the past, but it was nice memories. To Tourville, it seems to me that people were more delusional than elsewhere. At the beginning, this book was rather news on every event, and I had written that in 1980. I said to myself, why I would not take again it?”
Go to Tourville
Go to Tourville
It is inspired from some true events, but many elements are out of his imagination. “It is fictionalized. The grandfather, let’s say that the novel gives it an added value. My grand-father, it was the grandfather who has learned to read by reading The Duty, word-by-word.”
He speaks a lot about the importance of trains in his book. “The train station of Tourville was called Monk. The former employees of the railway speak of Monk. The RSS was prestigious… they were English-speaking.”
It also reflects the omnipresence of religion, at the time, and the disruption of morals caused by the arrival of television in homes. “There was that for the religion. All, all, all, it was religion. Me, as a child, I was sensitive enough, so I just swallowed it. I talk about in my novel with the decline.”
When television arrived in the villages, it was a revolution. “The tv showed other points of view, other ways of thinking. Arts and culture, it was via the television. Janette Bertrand, tv, in the time that VAT was called Télé-Métropole, has been hard triple to the subject of sexuality on his show, with her husband Jean Lajeunesse.
“Claude Charron, the former minister, said that three of the most important people of Quebec had been René Lévesque, Gilles Vigneault and Janette Bertrand. She was beautiful, cheerful, intelligent, switched on. It was not the kind of person that you could see in the villages!” And this was his idol!
- Pierre Rancourt was born at Tourville in 1945.
- He practiced law for a few years in Lévis, and then shifted to the profession of psychologist, which he held until his retirement in 2014.
- He wrote his second novel at this time.