Romans from here: how far a viaduct can lead
Apart from an overpass, there is nothing in common between the novelist Mia Clark and the historic director of the CP, William Van Horne. Léa Arthemise nevertheless interweaves them with virtuosity.
The premise of the novel A fierce growl is audacious. In the summer of 2020, a crowd formed on the Van Horne overpass, which connects the boroughs of Rosemont and Outremont to Montreal. The wallet of mysteriously missing novelist Mia Clark has just been found in a bag blocking the train tracks.
This is the pretext to go back a long way, to William Van Horne himself. The man once ran the Canadian Pacific Railway and was one of the wealthy who, at the end of the 19th century, lived in the Golden Square Mile in Montreal.
But for the moment, William is not yet the character who ensured the completion of the Canadian railway to British Columbia and who left behind him impressive collections of works of art. art and fossils. He is a 13-year-old boy who gets kicked out of school.
We will follow him until his death, alongside the life of Mia Clark as told by the narrator who, she says, was her work colleague and whom the novelist asked to write her biography.
The links between such different beings are woven thanks to the mediation of the narrator. “I would like to talk to you, William, about the circumstances in which I met Mia. ” – and the coincidences of their trajectories, all in unexpected curves. Not to mention their talent for inventing to change the course of things. “You are an illusionist, William.” He's not the only one in this curious tale.
After all, Mia is a writer and her first novel – titled A Fierce Rumble! — was a huge success. She nevertheless kept away from the media, with a discretion as exemplary as that of the narrator, a Frenchwoman recently settled in Montreal – like Léa Arthemise herself.
Game of mirrors
So there is a whole game of mirrors in this novel. It confuses the reader, which is accentuated by the tone used, half confession, half hiding. For example, the narrator recounts an interview with Mia, then adds: “Today, I can confirm that she seemed to me on the alert. ”
Arthemise us hold your breath well. What is the narrator looking for? Who is Mia's spouse? Where did this one fly off to? And how will the American William Van Horne end up in Canada to mark its history?
The author also has an eye for detail and we walk between the centuries as if we were there. was real. There is, however, no lack of bluster in the lives of William, Mia and the narrator: bluffing and lies launched with aplomb. As the narrator says, “I'm a professional, William, I know how to tell stories.”
Even the police can't see it. And so are we! As original as it is brilliant.