You can come into the world at any age. It is this sentence, at once very simple and so complex, that Monique Proulx examines through a new luminous novel, of great sensitivity, a great call to freedom, Take away the night. It tells the story of Markus who flees the closed community that saw him born and must invent himself, from nothing. He must gradually discover all the codes of the free world.
Markus, a free man at last, finds himself helping the worst in town. It's a different Markus who comes to the rescue of Abbie and Raquel, two remnants of his old life. And this young man is inhabited by a desire to enlighten those who suffer from darkness.
Monique Proulx, in an interview, talks about the comforting aspect of her novel, "slowly developed with love", she says.
"Markus existed in the previous book, but I never thought of bringing him back to life. I've never done that, take on a character. »
She went two years without writing and suddenly saw this character again, this 20-year-old young man she had "abandoned" on a street corner in Montreal.
"It began to haunt me and I decided to put myself in his shoes. It became an excuse for me to suddenly turn 20 and be more than an immigrant...someone from another planet who doesn't know the rules of the technological game at all and who ventures into the world completely bare, with an open and candid gaze. Ready for everything. »
Monique Proulx wanted to live this literary experience which turned out to be very interesting.
“There was something very enjoyable about the way I was writing, because I was speaking through Markus. He doesn't know French well, so he invents words, he plays with words, twists them around a bit. This freedom reminded me how to write fiction, it is a wonderful thing. »
Monique writes that "a man must recognize that he is lost before he begins to find his way". Echo of the pandemic era, where many people have lost their bearings?
" Life is hard. This is also what I wanted to talk about: being free in the world, in modern life, is not an easy experience. »
“It takes a kind of constant letting go of the things we can't change and a kind of resilience in the face of all that is within our reach and all that can be changed because of us. There is a kind of balance to be found between abandonment and dynamism. Markus, that's what he must learn to find, through his wanderings, his way. He searches for love and searches for the meaning of life. »
Monique Proulx reminds us that this dive into the unknown applies to everyone. “The world has become a stranger. With what is happening... We would never have thought that a war like the one that is happening in Ukraine was possible today. We thought that with diplomatic means and with the fear of nuclear power, it would be enough to retain all the despots of this world and we realize that not. »
“We thought that technologically speaking, we had mastered all the viruses... We are in the unknown completely. The earth is beginning to show that its resources have been abused. »
It's all threatening and requires a kind of basic trust, she agrees. "There are good things to do, an attitude of openness to have. And it is also with solidarity with others that we can succeed in doing things. »
♦ Monique Proulx is a novelist, short story writer and screenwriter.
♦ She has won numerous awards, including the Prix des libraires du Québec and the Prix Québec-Paris for her novel Homme invisible à la Fenêtre (1993), adapted for the cinema in 1999 by Jean Beaudin under the title Souvenirs Intimes.
♦ The film adaptation of his novel The Sex of the Stars was nominated for the Oscars and the Golden Globe Awards.
"It was the first time I had laughed in weeks.
And that I had a direction: straight ahead, right, 3333.
You cannot know how heart changing it is to have direction. Or maybe you've always known it. But at that point in my life, the steps I took in that direction brought me closer to the free man I had forgotten I was, brought me closer to the spark reignited in me, perhaps because I was walking without expectation, without hope, in the only exciting curiosity. »