The Margot who recounts her life in Mistassini has the particularity of embellishing it. Is this an asset or a defect?
She is a very likeable narrator of Mistassini, the first novel by Marjorie Armstrong. We recognize there the experience of someone who knows how to create characters since the author is also a screenwriter.
In fact, his Margot navigates the world of showbizz >. Rather, it revolves around! She is an actress in search of contracts and who, in the meantime, earns a meager living by working in a bar.
At 28, this precariousness is still viable, but is losing its bohemian luster. People Margot meets are starting to be seen on TV shows and her friends now have real jobs that pay for holidays.
Margot still managed to convince them that their traditional summer trip may be limited to a canoe-camping stay on the Mistassini River, in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. However, she did not specify that she will have to row hard to find the 500 dollars to invest in this getaway!
But we who know are ready to smile at her way of getting out of situations that bother her, spiced up with lightness.
An example: Margot has time, a precious resource that those around her lack. She is therefore called upon for various services, such as looking after her friend Sabrina's two sets of twins. Big contract, and Margot does not like the world of children so much, but how to refuse the 80 dollars offered?
Nevertheless, at her age, surviving as a towing babysitter hurts her self-esteem, so as soon as the task was done, “a stop at the SAQ in Westmount was necessary to heal my scratched pride”. In fact, wine serves this purpose better than a well-planned grocery store!
Marjorie Armstrong knows how to tell a way of life where, under relaxed airs, many anxieties are hidden – including with regard to an itinerant brother. Casualness therefore becomes a form of politeness towards others and towards oneself: we are not going to bother the world with our problems!
Even the lover does not serve as a confidant; this role is devolved to Louise, the affectionate German shepherd who has followed Margot for ten years and who is the real focus of her life.
But Louise is too old now to accompany her in a canoe- camping. However, during this trip, Margot will become entangled in a little lie which will become very big and will spoil the end as much as the return to town. Where we will see that becoming an adult is difficult, although necessary…
By closing the novel, we only hope that the Margots of this world retain some talent for telling stories that lighten their daily lives. Because that's exactly what makes the charm of this unpretentious story, which pleads for “kindness as a real quality and not as an insipid second-rate attribute”, and happiness as a feeling as valid as euphoria or passion. .
With a hint of lying if necessary!