On the cover, the photograph of a young man’s back is cut in a slight blur. A shift to barely noticeable, which is at the heart of Francis.
With Francis, Alexandre Michaud sign his first novel. He has earned this spring the prix Robert-Cliche, which is accompanied for 40 years now a financial award and to the publication of the book from VLB.
The author says that his story is inspired by the middle of the holidays of his childhood, Amqui. He has kept the city and focused on the excesses that are novels of initiation, those in which adolescent misfits looking for a future in losing oneself in the pleasures of the immediate.
The originality here lies in the fact that if the story revolves around the Francis of the title, she is told by another young boy, Antoine, immersed in full introspection.
The action takes place in an environment less poor than poor. Drink up to get fucked is a hobby in itself and dream of a better place seems non-existent. It is in this world that Antoine Lavoie has the crazy idea of becoming a writer. The public library allows him to delve into the reading of great authors.
But the reality is merciless : the life of the adolescent has nothing-fiction. His mother is a depressive chronic, which moves so little that it no longer has anything living. His father is a practical joker who has made unemployment an art of living.
As to the school, it is a weight for students who, like Antoine, are unable to enter into the mold.
But one day comes the implausible : Francis Pigeon, ” the terror of the neighborhood “, as described in the novel, note Antoine. And to feed his inspiration, he promises him to make him live a number of adventures.
In a world so narrow : they will drink more and still, in mixing the dope needed to lose for a long time the card and / or make some shots pendables.
Antoine may be the narrator of these bouts that skid on the bottom of ambitions literary of the high-level, where even Marcel Proust is called to the rescue, our attention gradually moves. It is the character of Francis, who challenges us.
What is this young bum is attractive at Antoine to always restart it, playing as much to the press that to save the trouble ? And why Anthony did it come to this point his four wishes as if he himself did not ?
The key to this funny tandem will be given to us at the end, and will reverse the entire perspective of the novel. The process is brilliant.
But another duo would have deserved more lighting : than the parents of Antoine.
His mother has an intriguing past which, unfortunately, leads to a too cruel caricature of a woman prostrate. Conversely, the father is fascinating to resilience : the ability to love in spite of all his wife, resourceful, optimistic hopeless… we just want to get to know him better. It is the aspect of light to this dark novel.