Novels from here: escape, voluntarily or not!

Novels from here: dodging, willingly or not!


Comment te dire adieu, Françoise Hardy once sang to words by Serge Gainsbourg. Just sneak away, Marie-Sarah Bouchard responds nicely with No need to say goodbye.

With her first book, Marie-Sarah Bouchard demonstrates that goodbyes can be camouflaged in several ways. She declines it in 12 short stories, very different from each other. A pain hidden under the quest for freedom is nevertheless the common feature. 

Bouchard has the talent to make us feel in a few words the pain or the discomfort staged. In a dozen pages each, his stories go straight to the point while perfectly setting the scene.

We will thus retain the short story “I am an empty shell”. We follow Simone, a student in visual arts – a discipline where it is better to stand out for its uniqueness. But Simone seeks hers so much that to impress her classmates, she ends up announcing her departure for a foreign country. Peer pressure leads to surprising decisions!

The short story “The Good Guys Get the Wool on Their Backs” exploits the same vein, this time in the world of work. Once again, the discrepancy between the apparent freedom of choice and the real expectations of the environment is clear. 

The young woman at the center of the story was hired by an advertising agency. She is amazed by it, as this environment seemed to her so out of reach and foreign to her personality as a nice girl and far from fashion. 

But little by little, she slips into the mould: better and better better dressed, more and more contemptuous, and always ready to drink to the successes of the office. Ambition wins her over. From paragraph to paragraph, the course is clear: it will end badly. And it's totally believable.

Chosen farewells

To these farewells that go beyond the characters are added those who are knowingly chosen. As in “What do you expect from me”, centered on the love that is missed, or the pretty short story “He will think of them”, centered on a friendship that fades.

It is also friendship that characterizes the short story “You don't let down a childhood friend”, the most cruel of the lot. In a few scenes, with subtlety, we understand why Louis, its protagonist, has chosen to completely isolate himself. 

There is still this short story, original, where it is the farewell to sleep which needs no words. But not good advice given by everyone! The title summarizes them: “For lack of rigor or will”. And the text delivers them in bulk, sometimes without punctuation. The whole thing ends with a paradoxical and amusing “and before going to bed don't think about all that”.

Ironic, tender or sad, the author knows how to do justice to all the situations that we feel the need to say welcome and good continuation in literature!