Confined in her apartment for the elderly in the region of Bois-Francs, the writer Michel Langlois compares this experience to his years of boarding school… but said to be well adapted to the rules in force. Her new novel, The life before everything, finally comes out in bookstores on may 27, and the author of numerous historical series to success was very happy to talk about it.
His new saga begins in 1879 in L’islet, on the South Shore, and then moves in the region of the Megantic. After the death of his mother, Romeo Marion left the family home and her alcoholic father to seek a better life. He travelled across Québec, between La Pocatière and Montreal, accepting the blows, one after the other, and attempt to live his passion, the sculpture.
“The title is topical… to The life above all“, he commented to enter the game. In this new book he is questioned about the destiny of each individual. “How is it that there are people who have everything and others have nothing? Is it that it is the destiny that leads us?”
“It is also the line of questioning that my characters are, and it gave me the opportunity to talk about the lives of multiple characters. Romeo becomes a sculptor, opened a museum in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli and sculpts historical figures. It has given me the opportunity to talk about these characters, throughout our history.”
The region of Mégantic
Romeo Marion is typical of the young men of the time. “A lot of young men have left for the United States. Me, I’ve done it to travel in a region of which we hear a little less talk, and it gave me the opportunity to speak of the Beauce and Lac-Mégantic. I had the idea of writing a saga on Lac-Mégantic, and I already had the material.”
“I’ve done a search on the French who came from Nantes and who settled at Lac-Mégantic. I went to France to do a search on these people, but I have not found a lot of things.”
With the character of David Black, Michel Langlois speaks also of the descendants of american slaves who found refuge in Quebec – a subject very little discussed in the literature of quebec.
“Marcel Trudel, in one of his volumes, has spoken of slavery in Quebec ; these slaves have been hired by the people of the nobility and the bourgeoisie, but this is not a story so much told and so well-known. It was approved by the clergy at the time. It gave me the opportunity to talk about what had lived the great-grandfather of David Black.”
Moreover, the writer is confined in his residence for elderly people of Drummondville since the beginning of the crisis of the COVID-19, in the company of his wife. “We are trapped in our apartment. There is 500 in the home and they have taken action quickly in order not to that the virus enters the building. The people are controlled”, he commented, in an interview.
The average age in his or her home is 87 years old and people find it difficult to not have visitors. All activities in the schedule have been cancelled and the mode of life, daily, as meal time, had to be adapted.
With a hint of humor, the writer of the 82-year-old has compared this experience to his youthful years. “I feel a bit like when I was a boarder… When I was a student, I was a boarder. It was locked up and we had a severe regulation. But here, it is necessary. There is a control and there are no chances to take.”
► Available in bookstores on may 27.
- The novelist Michel Langlois is a native of Baie-Saint-Paul.
- He has been a professor, archivist, and genealogist.
- He lives in Drummondville.
- His numerous novels have sold more than 300,000 copies.
The life before all
“The year 1880 was barely one-month old when I made the decision to continue on my route. I had finished the chicken coop, as well as the smaller jobs that I had been entrusted to them by following the lord Pozer. I was thinking about my next destination. From time to time to me to mind my stay at the Lafleur. I was going over Gloria, who brought me a drink, and I was still doing the same reproach : why hadn’t I seized the opportunity to better know ? I was probably too stopped at the sole idea of remaking my life away.”