Michel Jean: a penchant for rebellious writers

The newscaster, host and writer Michel Jean recounts his literary favourites.

Michel Jean: a penchant for rebellious writers

The newscaster, host and writer Michel Jean recounts his literary favourites.

What was your most recent novel crush?

Yändata’ – L’éternité au bout de ma rue by Wendat poet Jean Sioui. In this book, he recounts memories of his youth, which he spent in an urban reserve, a universe that we are a little less used to seeing. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, but I really liked it. And it's very well written.

And just before, what was it?

Final painting of Larry Tremblay's love, which I preferred to L'orangeraie. The author was inspired by the life of the painter Francis Bacon and I was blown away by the lucidity in the characters and by the acid side of the story. There are people who will find it hard, but sometimes the hardness is part of the story. In any case, when you read this, it's mind-blowing!

Can you tell us about the books that have made a deep impression on you in recent years?

What book would you have liked to have written?

A French novel by Frédéric Beigbeder, because you want to be smart like Beigbeder. And then there is also his ability to tell a story with this rebellious tone that hides all his sensitivity. That's a fine line to walk on and he masters it in the writing and in the structure, which I find unparalleled. In addition, he is someone who has the courage to say what he says. I really admire his lack of modesty.

Which novel has already managed to move you to tears?

Without hesitation, The Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary. When I finished reading this book, I couldn't help but flatter him! There is everything in this novel: the style, the way of being of Gary – who is also rebellious –, his great vulnerability, his mother... All that is mixed with finesse and when you go to the end, you cry.

Do you remember a novel you couldn't put down?

The non-A world of A. E. van Vogt, which I have read several times in my life. For 2000 years, the world has evolved a lot technologically speaking, but intellectually, it has stayed with Aristotle. This is the kind of book that makes you question the way you think. Van Vogt is one of the great science fiction authors.

What are you absolutely planning to read next?

Of course, I will read Children Are Kings by Delphine de Vigan, because I read everything about her. I also intend to read the last Michel Houellebecq, Anéantir. I think he's a great writer and I thought his penultimate novel, Submission, was brilliant.

Which book do you want to end this interview with?

With Le testament français by Andreï Makine, whose books I quite adored. But with this one, I found myself in a universe that spoke to me. It's a great novel that touches me because it deals with origins, a subject that resembles what inspires me in my novels. It's just that we are elsewhere, because Makine is a Russian who settled in France.