La vie dure
La vie dure
ISBN : 2-922245-02-0 | 220 pages | $15.99 | 1997 | 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)