Profound reflections between Québec and Haiti

Réflexions profondes entre Québec et Haïti

Inspired by a writing residency took place in Haiti in 2017, the writer and screenwriter, Véronique Marcotte offers a narrative that is deeply human, tragic and upsetting on love, death, the deep values and the territory. The geography of happiness, a novel-intimate, explores the issue of happiness and its possible boundaries, but also one of the secrets to the negative consequences.

In 2017, the writer Véronique Marcotte was awarded the resident writer at the PEN centre in Haiti Port-au-Prince. It is inspired by this experience, demanding to write The geography of happiness, a novel which shares a vision that is realistic and very touching tale of Haiti and its people and which deals with great questions.

Two narratives are interwoven into The geography of happiness. One of Jaco, a man of haitian origin who grew up in Quebec and whose wife dies, and that of Mrs. V., a quebec writer who has made writing residency in Haiti – the alter ego of the author.

Jaco, after having assisted his wife Marine in his suicide, at the end of a degenerative disease terrible, discovered that it had hidden a secret. Fourteen years earlier, Navy had given birth to a little girl, Clara, to Haiti. Intrigued, upset, Jaco starts his search.

Meanwhile, during his stay in Haiti, Ms. V. has taken affection to a girl very young girl named Clara. Inspired, the writer decides to tell the story of this child is amazing and sensitive.

Mourning and assisted suicide

By the way of literature, Véronique Marcotte addressed the question of happiness, but also about secrets and their consequences, on the illness, bereavement, assisted suicide, life choices,.

In the interview, she talks about the events that led her to return to his work table. “When I finished writing the jam to the pigs, I was really lost. The same themes I worked : the friendship, the double life, the difficulties that the human being can live. I was very much in the questioning of the freedom to die – it was starting to be up to date. ”

Then, she stayed in Haiti for a writing residency. A conference presented by the company of Rodney Saint-Éloi and Dany Laferrière has changed everything. “The starting point has been this little girl of 11 years who stood up and asked me : “Is it that you think that there is a geography of happiness ?” ”

“I have not been able to answer that, to me, the North American affluent in comparison with the people who were in front of me. I didn’t know what to answer, and it put me in anger. ”

The writer was not ashamed and knew that the little girl was not in the process of the challenge : it was a real question. “Me, I had no real answer. I came back in telling me, is that it exists, a geography of happiness ? And what is the happiness ? This is a question that I ask myself since a long time, and that everyone asks. ”


Other questions followed. “Is this that happiness is the freedom to leave when we are no longer able to take on a daily basis, as my character, a Marine, who is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ? Is it that Navy had the freedom to say she does déracinerait not a child she has brought into the world ? ”

She is deeply attached to Clara, who was in fact Tina, and admire the resilience of Jaco, a male character that she has loved to describe. “It accepts exactly what a Marine is… and it accepts the freedom of the Navy. I’m attached to him because he made it so that the human being who is in front of him to flourish, precisely because it is free. ”


The geography of happiness
Veronique Marcotte
Ed. Quebec America
256 pages”>

The geography of happiness
Veronique Marcotte
Ed. Quebec America
256 pages

“His mother has brought into the world so she had to immigrate to Québec with his father, met in Cap-Haitien at the beginning of the seventies, in the era of François Duvalier. The mechanical engineer, the father of Jaco was teaching a little everywhere on the island until the militiamen lead to the murder of eight apprentices who had ventured to steal car tires. A witness of the terrible event, the young Quebecer had not taken the time to clean the blood splattered on his shirt. He had joined his beloved pregnant in a plane, in the direction of Montreal.

After having put at world the little Jacques-Olivier, her mother is never returned in his country, kote tout moun mouri. Jaco there is, therefore, never gone. “

– Véronique Marcotte, The geography of happiness

♦ Véronique Marcotte is a writer, film director and screenwriter.

♦ She has published seven novels.

♦ The rights to a film adaptation of his novel Of the jam to the pigs have been acquired by Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin.

♦ The duo is currently working on the script for the feature film.

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