Reader's portrait of Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard: everything, for all tastes

Reader portrait of Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard: everything, for all tastes ;ts


In addition to being a writer, actor and director, Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard, whose novel High Demolition < strong>has just been adapted into a TV series (on Séries Plus), is also a great reader. He shares with us his most beautiful discoveries.

We get right to the heart of the matter: which books were your favorites?

I'm going to include a little theater because I really like it . Well, I'm even going to start with that, with Rouge gueule by Étienne Lepage. It is a piece that I found extraordinary and that I still talk about. There's something very provocative about her.

Novels, now. I start with American Psychoby Bret Easton Ellis, which is such a great read. When I read it, I was like, huh? Is it possible, to write something like that, to go so far in popular culture and in excess? This book ended up having a great influence on me.

There is also Always With Me by Kazuo Ishiguro, an author whose best-known novel is The Remains of the day. In all his books, there is a reflection on good and evil, how far we are ready to go to live with the mistakes we have made, all the intellectual pirouettes we have to do to get there. Often, it also places some kind of big turnaround early on, except we can't quite decipher it yet. But when you finally get it, it's really interesting. All of this written in simple, touching, beautiful prose.

Swing Time, by Zadie Smith, is a very accomplished book that casts a wide net, with a lot of rhythm. Among other things, it allowed me to travel, because the story takes place in London. I love what this Brit writes.  

And what good have you read lately?

I was recommended the collection of short stories by a Chilean author, Benjamin Labatut. His book is called Blind Lightsand it was on Barack Obama's list of literary suggestions. So in the United States, he has “pogned” well ! It's full of stories about fictionalized versions of scientific discoveries. For example, he will talk about a blue pigment that was also used as a chemical weapon during World War II, or about the first scientists who worked on quantum physics.

A-t- Is there a novel whose story has never really ceased to haunt you?

Yes, The Wolf in the White Truckby John Darnielle. A shocking story in which we will have, as in Kazuo Ishiguro, a kind of revelation that occurs three-quarters of the way through the book. The hero is a disfigured guy who lives very isolated. He has autonomy issues following what is understood to be an accident. He has a monstrous appearance and through the thread of the story we will understand what happened to him. To make a living, he created a mail-order role-playing game, which was very popular in the 1990s. But players end up taking the game a little too seriously and they will put their lives in danger. It is beautifully written.

Is there a book you would like to talk about because it completely surprised you?

The little girl who loved matches too much by Gaetan Soucy. I read it very young and it marked my life as a writer. It is a monument of literature and for me, it was a revelation. It tells the story of two children whose father has died and who must learn to live in an isolated house. 

So far, which book do you think you have most frequently taken out of your library?

I think it's a graphic novel, Sabrina,by Nick Drnaso. He is extraordinary. The reason I take it out so often is because I loan it out to friends and when it doesn't come back, I buy it back. It's the story of a guy whose high school friend isn't doing well. He hasn't seen her for years. He has a very flat life and the arrival of this friend disrupts his daily life. Politically, what the book says is very interesting. It focuses, among other things, on the violence of social networks. It's a book that haunted me, you have to read it. It blew me away.

Do you have a favorite book series?

Like everyone my age, I read the Harry Potterand Lord of the Rings, and I loved it. It remains memorable forever. 

And on the side of science fiction novels, what did you fall for?

I don't read a lot of it, but I'm a big fan of William Gibson, who predicted our relationship to the internet and cyberspace. Neuromancer, the first book of a trilogy, is really interesting. It features a computer hacker who has had his access to the internet blocked and who will be offered to regain access under certain conditions. 

There is also Peripherals, which is one of his great novels, his best in my opinion. It's about a girl who has a superpower: she reacts to brands, so she can tell if a new logo will work or not.

What are you going to read for sure over the next few weeks?

I'm reading Anéantir by Michel Houellebecq. After that, on top of my pile are Gens du nord by Perrine Leblanc and L’homme supernuméraire by Patrice Jean. It was Stéphane Bureau who told me about it. It is a reflection on the way we look at the works of the past to whiten them, clean them when we judge that they have aged badly.