Writer Dany Laferrière introduces this week his first title after entering the French Academy: Everything we will not tell you, Mongo. We find with pleasure the tone, easy and serious, of this extraordinary writer, his love for Quebec and life, his excellent humor, the sensitivity and quality of his view of humanity.
This brilliant chronicle tells how a man from the South, who has lived for 40 years in a country in the north, meets a young man who has just arrived from Africa. He tells her in detail about his experience, thus wanting to make her avoid some obstacles.
This has been done, Dany specifies in an email interview, “while it is known that life can mix cards differently and that the society of 40 years ago is no longer the same.” At the same time, “traces of the past are still present in such a young society, which is trying to create an identity.”
Dany Laferrière says he has met many Mongos over the years.
“Many young people who come to Quebec come to see me in order to explain their life here. I tell them first that before any change, you should look for meeting points. Life is stronger than analysis and ideology. Love is a right compass. Do not dwell too much on what may seem negative to us today, because tomorrow may change color. Like the winter, which I hated at first and now scares me less. ”
Other tips have been added. “Avoid the nostalgia that makes us believe that the life we just left was better. In fact, it’s the same thing we follow in a new space.
That said, Dany Laferrière specifies that Mongo already existed in a previous book, The Chronicle of Gentle Motion. “I like to use my characters as ideas. My aesthetic is that of the wheel that spins itself to move forward. This wheel holds the dust of the traversed road.
“The Writer’s Way”
Mongo represents the young man who was a writer when he arrived in Quebec 40 years ago. “And, of course, it’s too late, I can do nothing more for him: the game is over. It remains the consolation that Quebec was kind to me. Here I made my way as a writer.
In Quebec and the Quebecers, Dany Laferrière teaches Mongos that “Quebecers do not constitute a single bloc” and that it is “a society made up of people with such different characters.” “Do not put them in the same basket. They oppose everything. They may be overly convinced and, at the next moment, want to break everything. But life here goes smoothly because they will not go to the end. They are mostly moderate with fast blood. Their revolution is slow, even quiet.
What do you like most about life in Quebec? “Quebec night is quiet. And cafes, theaters, cinemas, restaurants allow for a brilliant life, even for a young person who has just arrived and is looking for work. I spent my time observing life. I was not afraid of any abusive power. “When it comes to a dictatorship, it’s a holiday to live in Montreal.”
And, Dany, what is the main difference between North and South? “The north offers tourists to the south, while the south provides workers. One spends 15 days with the other, while the latter 40 years. Who do you think knows the other best?
- In the bookstore 10 November.
- Dany Laferrière has been a member of the French Academy since 2013.
- He became a Quebec National Order Officer in 2014.
“Go down rue Saint-Denis to the river. They stop me at the corner of Cherrier Street. He is a young boy in his early twenties.
– My name is Mongo. I just came from Africa.
– It’s great, Africa.
– Oh, you know! I come from Cameroon. I actually got the name of a Cameroonian writer for whom I have a lot of respect.
– Mongo Beti.
-You know too!
– Yes … I like his anger. He takes nothing for granted.
– Most people take Africa for a place where man only awaits death. I am amazed by such a lack of curiosity.
And I’m amazed at the quality of his language, his calm and thoughtful tone. And his tiger gaze ready to jump on the hunting enemy.
– Dany Laferrière, All We Will Not Tell You, Mongo
Dany Laferrière – Everything we will not tell you, Mongo