He answered our questionnaire with great honesty.
Your relationship with book fairs?
It is an ambiguous relationship. I love fairs because they allow me to meet my readers. As a journalist in The Hurrythey could reach me by email and I had several emails a day, so I had daily contact with readers.
With books, contacts are rarer. The reasons for contact with readers are precisely book fairs, hence the importance of fairs. That’s the side I like.
What I like least, and here I am going to make a confession, is the stress of telling me
Oh! My God! No one will come to my booth! – and next to it we see a very popular author with a queue until the end of time – or that visits become scarce, that I will sign a dozen books at most… In short, that I will look more like a plant perched on a stool that a writer waiting for his readers!
The book that is currently on your nightstand?
I always read several books at the same time. I usually read a novel and an essay. I always have a book in my reading lamp because I read a lot at night.
I am currently reading an essay, it is the book of the three journalists from PressKatia Gagnon, Gabrielle Duchesne and Ariane Lacoursière, whose name is 5060. The carnage of COVID-19 in our CHSLDs, published by Boreal. I dare you not to cry while reading this book.
This book mercilessly dissects the CHSLD crisis during the first two waves of the pandemic in 2020, which killed 5,060 people. We better understand why so many people died, what didn’t work, and where there was a lot of grit in the gears. It really is a book to read. But not a book to read at night because you’re not going to sleep at all.
The book I just finished last night is Annihilate by Michel Houellebecq. Perfect sleep aid. I recommend it to anyone with insomnia!
The book you absolutely must read in life and why?
It’s a terribly difficult question because you have to choose. Me, I read a little of everything, even Houellebecq! When he was young, he devoured Russians: Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy. For me it was love at first sight, a revelation of a universe that I did not suspect, I was the girl from Cartierville.
French novels also shook my adolescence as The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I also fell in love with Balzac, Mauriac, Zola. But the book that caught my attention the most was wonderful person by Emile Zola.
Her character, Gervaise, who is a laundress in Paris, a worker, has done everything she can to succeed. She was haunted by the idea of dying poor, alone like a dog and that’s what happened to her.
This story traumatized me. It’s a really exciting book about social class, about the world of work in the industrial age.
The book that shouldn’t have been made into a movie?
I opted for him Millennium. I really liked the world of the Swedish journalist writer Stieg Larsson. The film adaptation was very disappointing. We make images, ideas. I did not like the character of the journalist. Obviously, all the young writers started having Asperger’s as a character. I was disappointed to find that Stieg Larsson’s extremely abundant and rich universe was not accurately represented.
The word you use too often?
I, I swear a lot. She makes me feel good, she’s scary, but she’s vulgar, like my mother used to say. Obviously my favorite coronation is tabarnack. It seems to me an extraordinary catharsis. Depending on my mood, I have variations or I can chain them. Calisse, host, criss… I think it’s very Quebecois. So there you have it, that’s the word I use way too often.
When do you get the idea of a title for a book?
Disclaimer: I suck at titles. La Presse columnists choose their own headlines. When I was a columnist, it was torture! I often turn around and ask my colleague Patrick Lagacé or Yves Boisvert if they have an idea for a title.
My publisher, Boréal, found the titles of all my books except one, the cat man. I often juggle multiple titles and most of the time they are pretty bad, thanks. It is an art to know headline and it seems that I am not very good at this art.
What’s playing on your ipod/spotify/cassette/turntable?
I have a hobby these days. I listen on repeat the russian spy by Joseph Edgar, who is an Acadian artist, originally from Moncton. I am even more obsessed with this song since I spent two weeks in New Brunswick last summer. I love this song. The melody, the lyrics, the rhythm, the voice, everything.
Michèle Ouimet was forced to cancel her presence at the Salon du livre. Her novels will continue to be available on the site.