A trivial situation – mice in the house! –, Myriam Ouellette draws an interesting illustration of our relationship to well-being and intimacy.
Virginie, Paul and their two young children make up a loving and uneventful little family. . And then, one morning, this furtive appearance: a mouse in the kitchen! It had been so fast that the parents thought they had dreamed it.
To be sure, you might as well do a test by leaving a piece of cheese lying around. who will disappear. The demonstration is made, a beast prowls. How to get rid of it?
Then begins the round of stuff gleaned from everywhere, then exterminators. In the plural, because the methods vary… and in the case of Paul and Virginie, the results are not there!
Anyone who has experienced this type of animal invasion – mice, cockroaches, bed bugs – will easily recognize the uneasiness and, even worse, the ensuing malaise.
This secret drama – who wants to brag about it? – weighs down daily life (hunting animals is hard work!) and disrupts the attachment to the place of life. The home is no longer a haven of peace, but a place where the threat can hide in the smallest interstices.
The central element
< p>With The Hosts, Myriam Ouellette signs an original first novel in many ways. On the one hand because it plunges into the heart of a banal reality, but rarely approached in the public space, even less in fiction.
On the other hand because it puts day how central habitat is in a relationship.
Thus, to fight the infestation, it is necessary to clean up and rethink the arrangement of objects in space: who is sluggish, who accumulates too many books? To each his reproaches, as to each his own obsessions: Virginie tracks down the slightest smell, Paul multiplies the strategies to cleverly arrange his traps.
And then there are the disagreements. Wouldn't a new house in the suburbs, like the one where Paul lived as a child, be better than their old apartment in town? Virginie is already dying of boredom!
Worse still, the two of them now have no other topic of conversation than these mice that nibble at night without being trapped. Nature has never been their forte, as evidenced by the disastrous memories of camping with the family, but this time it puts them squarely to the test. They sleep badly, have nightmares.
And to think that Diane, Virginie's mother, has no empathy for them. She has neither maternal fiber nor understanding of the problem. She is a nomad who has traveled the world and faced much worse bugs! Preserving the heat of the hearth, does not know. That too, Virginie suddenly remembers.
Ouellette tells us everything in great detail, sometimes redundant. At the same time, this precision corresponds to the manic struggle that must be carried out before the final triumph.
Because, after months, there will be triumph. But it will be surprising and of a completely different nature than the hunt for the little mouse of the first days!