Take away the night: to warm the heart

Who dares to speak of kindness these days? Monique Proulx does it, in a novel bursting with light.

Take away the night: to warm the heart

Who dares to speak of kindness these days? Monique Proulx does it, in a novel bursting with light.

Markus, the narrator of Enlève la nuit, comes straight from Monique Proulx's previous novel, What's left of me, published in 2015. She told the essence of Montreal through different characters, including Markus, a Hasidic Jew 20-year-old who leaves his community.

This young man, totally out of touch with his past and who has everything to discover in modern life, harbored such potential that Proulx took him back – we might even say literally.

At the very beginning of Enlève la nuit, Markus is about to throw himself in front of a car to end his crushing loneliness. A stranger's hand rests on his shoulder, blocking his movement. The old man leaves immediately, but that was enough: Markus has understood that you can “let the worst pass without following it”.

He therefore decides to enter the homeless shelter he had so far bypassed; he finds a small job, then a modest home; and he takes French lessons given by his landlord's sister.

There he meets young people with whom he will go out in bars, where he will meet Abbie, who has also fled the community, and Raquel, another Hasidic with whom he was to marry! Together, they discover a Montreal that does not say its name – moreover, even the Hasidic community is not directly named.

But what matters most in this cascade of funny or difficult events, which also sees the return of other characters from What's Left of Me, is the luminosity of Markus' writings.

Because he is determined to fill his new notebooks with a new "writer". It’s not easy, hence a starting caveat: “Forgive mistakes, and repetitions, and words that are too small or too boastful, or out of place. »

On the contrary, it's wonderful: a decomposition of words and a game of language that constantly bring us back to the essentials. We think of Sol, who once enchanted young and old.

sensitive to others

Thus, Markus dreams of belonging to the "Fresh World", of meeting a Cutie and of frequenting the Gigantic Library with confidence. And the freedom he has won is a grace for him; why then among others who have everything, “there is no joy”?

He wonders so much that he finally understands what sets him apart: “Could it be, Markus, that your own movement, the big one that directs your small movements, is to give instead of waiting to receive? »

From then on, he will work to give, and it will go all wrong, and all beautiful, and all comforting: a religion without dogma, just sensitive to the other. It's so inspiring that you come out of it with a great appetite for life.

Markus Kohen's mission is accomplished.