La vie dure

La vie dure


ISBN : 2-922245-02-0 | 220 pages | $15.99 | | Varia

Out of stock. As Varia has ceased its activities, I have resumed my rights and plan to review and republish soon in ePub format.

Tonight, it will prob­a­bly be the storm of the cen­tu­ry. As the snow begins to fall and the wind becomes threat­en­ing, a writer goes from café to café, lis­tens and observes. Some peo­ple laugh, oth­ers cry, some cheat their soli­tude in the illu­sion of the crowd, oth­ers cut them­selves off from the world to enjoy a moment of happiness.

But the storm became vio­lent and nature, angry, forced men and women to face their lives. Among them, six paths stand out : Thomas, who wants to die on Mount Roy­al and fights hand-to-hand against his sur­vival instinct ; an old man, at the end of his life, who comes to say good­bye to books ; Suzanne who los­es her hus­band, her exe­cu­tion­er ; Fire, the arson­ist, who is con­sumed in prison ; a man who writes to his wife his amaze­ment at being alive and in love ; a young woman raped who tries to escape her suf­fer­ing by climb­ing the moun­tain where she is insane. The sky may well be angry, noth­ing is more poignant than these emo­tion­al storms that shake peo­ple’s hearts. Thomas, Suzanne, Fire and all the anony­mous peo­ple who meet the writer’s gaze and imag­i­na­tion per­me­ate and com­fort our souls because they are each a part of us.

The snow choked her. Flakes penetrate her nostrils. She's coughing. The storm howls or sings; it's hard to say. If she screams, it's because she's mean; if she sings, it's because she's part of her imagination. She ticks, places a hand in front of her to protect herself. The wind follows the road that the men broke through the mountain. She thinks she's walking in a river, against the current. The wind blocks his way, seems to be protesting because he encounters an obstacle, swirls, crashes on the rocks, drags the snow which in turn bursts. It's already dark. Her hair is whipping her face. She hadn't considered the climb so difficult. She's still moving forward. She hadn't considered anything at all.


An admirable hymn to life

From the begin­ning, we plunge into the char­ac­ters’ con­fu­sion, their mis­ery and con­flict­ing emo­tions to find our­selves each time faced with a choice. To live or to cease to exist. Rather than enter­ing into melo­dra­ma and indulging in it, the author con­cludes by shar­ing with us the solu­tions to each prob­lem. Every­thing goes through the love of life. We nev­er get tired of read­ing these sto­ries, which are so poignant and so sim­i­lar to us. La Vie dure (Hard life) is a vibrant por­trait of peo­ple in the storm of exis­tence and emo­tions. It is also an admirable hymn to life.

Roger-Luc Chayer, RG (1997/07/01)

Rawness and poetry

Per­haps it should have been pub­lished ear­li­er, in the mid­dle of win­ter, this lit­tle book that may go unno­ticed at the late begin­ning of sum­mer. Guy Verville’s third work, Le Putain (Éd. Guer­ni­ca, 1991), and a remark­able nov­el, Crev­er mon fils (Éd. Les Herbes rouges, 1993), La Vie dure is pre­sent­ed as a sto­ry, but can be read as a nov­el. Every­thing hap­pens overnight, as the storm of the cen­tu­ry rages in the sky and on the streets of the city. A writer stops in a café, looks at faces, lis­tens to bits of con­ver­sa­tion, writes. Inter­nal storms are unleashed…

Guy Verville’s prose is grip­ping, poignant, breath­less. His short sen­tences, at first seem­ing­ly lack­ing in flu­id­i­ty, stop, start again, become a rhythm, a thought. We are in the head of a man who, unable to suf­fer any more, has decid­ed to die, to put an end to bore­dom. Armed with a weapon, he wants to take advan­tage of the anonymi­ty of the storm on the moun­tain. He has pre­pared every­thing, every­thing planned, except the ani­mal’s sur­vival instinct. “With his arms still point­ing to the sky, he starts cry­ing. His body won, made him lose a pre­cious ball and an even more valu­able time. He had­n’t thought about the body’s resistance.

There are six sto­ries, six indi­vid­ual dra­mas that are lived here, inter­spersed with the writer’s wan­der­ings in a uni­verse where real­i­ty goes beyond fic­tion. A sick old man enters a book­store, dis­turbs a dreamy book­seller, who did not think he should assist some­one in his death in the mid­dle of a storm. But the old man is strange, he has a lot to teach him, he will let him change after he leaves. An injured woman inter­rupt­ed their one-to-one con­ver­sa­tion for a moment, ran away : “May peo­ple suf­fer, my God, may peo­ple suf­fer,” said the old man…

Else­where, in a liv­ing room, a woman smokes exces­sive­ly. She is wait­ing for her hus­band’s death, for his release. The agony nev­er ends. The author cre­ates a cli­mate of chok­ing, wait­ing and anx­i­ety. Time is pass­ing heav­i­ly. All life no longer makes sense. In a prison, two men love each oth­er with­out say­ing it. The wound­ed woman, raped, haunts the streets before going to lick her wounds on the moun­tain, in her turn.

La Vie dure (Hard life), as its title sug­gests, is not a hap­py tale. Yet, through these dai­ly hor­ror sto­ries, which Guy Verville tells with crude­ness and poet­ry, pierce hope, the dream of a bet­ter future, the life that con­tin­ues after the storm.

Raymond Bertin, Voir (1997/05/29)