Victor-Lévy Beaulieu: revisiting the month of October 1973
In his 98th book, October fish marauding among the Frankish Gauls, the talented, authentic, original and sincere writer Victor-Lévy Beaulieu revisits the month of October 1973 and the moment when he felt, deeply, that he “came into the world”. He was 28 years old and worked in a Montreal publishing house. Quebec had to decide on its political future. It was a liberal tidal wave, with the Parti Québécois retaining only six seats in the National Assembly. And VLB had a kind of epiphany.
In a telephone interview from his residence in Trois-Pistoles, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu recounts with all the verve and humor knows the genesis of this absolutely tasty novel. Pay yourself the bill, read it and immerse yourself in the effervescence, political tension and social climate of Quebec in the 1970s. VLB is inimitable.
What's up, Victor-Lévy? “I got old… I got old,” he says humorously. “They used to say that when I was young. It is a remnant of vocabulary from Normandy. Come back. Come. It was said in my family; they were Normans and Bretons, you know. I am a Beaulieu dit Hudon.”
At 77 years old, VLB offers its readers this book which testifies to its originality, its creativity, the immense evocative power of its pen and its exceptional memory. .
The book was born one day, during a conversation, when it had a flash. “I think that it is not by being born, by coming into the world, that one is really born. Our birth, we do it when we are rather adult, when we become. To become, you have to be a little. But when you come into the world, what you can be in life can be very different, according to this, according to that, and first of all according to the genes you have received.
Birth as an individual happens later in your life, he says.
“I became who I am in 1973. Not only did I choose what I wanted to do in life, but I got to do it. It oriented everything in my life. For me, 1973 is the age when I was really born. My mother gave me life in 1945, but in 1973 I gave my life to myself. And I decided to tell it.”
A decisive month
Victor-Lévy Beaulieu specifies that he was interested in reliving this moment for himself. “The year 1973 was the moment of decisions, after the defeat of the PQ in 1973. Everything happens in the month of October. In the 1973 elections, the PQ had been washed away. René Lévesque had not even been elected.”
At that time, he was working for Jacques Hébert, a friend of Pierre–Elliott Trudeau, at Éditions Le Jour. “The next day, I went to the Editions and I resigned. I said: I no longer work for a federalist all my life. Finished. Good. »
“I left there and went to carry manuscripts and plays that I had promised Jean-Claude Germain and Michèle Rossignol. I took the plane and went to Paris, where they published my book on Kerouac. I went there for my book launch, and that's what I talk about in the book.”
Satori< strong> in Paris
He had brought Satoriin Paris, of Kerouac, of which he had not spoken in his book. “I read it on the plane and in Paris, and decided to take the same trip that Kerouac talks about in the book. And that's how I got to Brittany and Normandy.”
And that's how he also granted Kerouac's wish, who wanted to write dry on the shore from a beach at midnight, during a storm, by wrapping a notebook and pencil in a garbage bag. “I did it for him. I was very happy with myself! What I wrote in the book at the end, I really did.”
♦ Victor-Lévy Beaulieu is a writer, playwright and editor.
♦ He lives in Trois-Pistoles, in Bas-Saint-Laurent.
♦ We owe him nearly a hundred books and numerous successful soap operas, including Race de monde , L'Héritage, Montreal P.Q., Bouscotte and the miniseries Louis Cyr, written in collaboration with Paul Ohl.
“That evening of the election – October 29, 1973 – my Belle Blonde and I sat in the stands of the Paul-Sauvé Center filled to bursting. Far in front of us, a gigantic screen that allows us to see in real time the unveiling of the ballot – not crazy about this kind of gathering; we all become big screaming animals there and happy to turn on the top for nothing – fortunately my Beautiful Blonde had the idea of bringing in her kind of portuna who never leaves her a full bottle of vodka – between two demonstrations of the good PQ people, my Belle Blonde and I, we drank a mouthful of alcohol – drunk like two tough guys from the Carré Viger we will be when René Lévesque takes the floor, exhausted by a month of election campaign and the result elections – 102 Liberal MNAs elected and only seven for the Parti Québécois, whose leader has bitten the dust for the second time in the riding of Mercier, which is only populated by Francophones!”