Although two books have just been dedicated to him (From heart to combat – Françoise David in five stages Y A great moment in the life of Françoise Davidboth by Lisa-Marie Gervais), former politician Françoise David tells us about the books she loved.
Is there a book in your life that has meant more than any other?
So be it by Benoite Groult. The French writer published this courageous essay in 1975, but I read it only in 1982. Her documented exposure of the plight of millions of women around the world made me a convinced feminist. For life!
If you had the power, what book would you ask everyone to read?
The identities of the killers by Amin Maalouf. This Franco-Lebanese author inspired me deeply when Quebec was reflecting, in the 2000s, on its identity, on secularism, on the relations between majorities and minorities. Problems present in all parts of the world, all too often leading to intolerance and even deadly conflict. How, then, can the normal need for collective belonging be reconciled with a humanism open to the world?
Now you can tell us about the last novel you loved.
How difficult it is to choose! Since it is necessary: the leaky woman by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette. Her grandmother left her husband and her children. She almost never saw them again. The author does not judge, he tries to understand. And we, with her. Should we assume that Suzanne Meloche had to abandon her children in order to finally be able to pursue her artistic passions? The book does not sit. It is beautifully written and touches our hearts.
Other than that, what other novels have you really enjoyed over the years?
- All Michel Tremblay. Understanding the Quebec of popular neighborhoods. Because he really likes women. He understands them, he speaks of them tenderly. Also for humour!
- By Gabrielle Roy, my favorite books are second hand happiness (1945), for the Saint-Henri district of the 1940s, and angst and charm (1984), for writing, for nostalgia, for emotion.
- Benoîte Groult again, with The Vessels of the Heart. A romance novel published in 1988 that I must have read three or four times. What she loved: passion, the happiness of loving despite obvious limitations, eroticism. Captivating and moving!
- All Henning Mankell, Swedish author of humanistic novels. You have to start with the first… But the last is the best. the worried man takes us by the guts. We don’t want to end it!
- Caroline Dawson with where do i land (2021): the story of a girl who emigrates to Quebec with her two brothers and their parents. Parents who are willing to make any sacrifice to escape the Pinochet dictatorship and give their children a better life. Little she learns French, seeks to integrate and understands that it will not be easy. We found out with her. A truly masterful first novel!
Is there a test you want to talk about?
Kuei, I salute you: Conversation about racism by Deni Ellis Béchard and Natasha Kanapé Fontaine (2016, reissue 2021). This Quebecois-American novelist and this Innu poet engage in a long conversation through fascinating letters. What path to take to end the racism inscribed in too many Quebec institutions with respect to aboriginal peoples? What path to take to understand yourself and change behaviors that hurt? The two writers dialogue, explain themselves, open fruitful paths. Exciting !
What are you reading right now?
Alain Farah’s latest book, A thousand secrets, a thousand dangers. An incredible story of parties and desperate moments. Fascinating characters. A story that keeps us in suspense.
And what do you plan to read next?
state of terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton. First, because I really like the author Louise Penny. And because in this time of war she kills, I want to know more about the political and economic power behind the scenes.