Wednesday, May 12, 2010

La Guerre- Yes Sir!

No one has ever said French-English relations in Canada are straightforward, certainly not Roch Carrier, our once upon a time National Librarian and author of the much beloved the Hockey Sweater- well, beloved by everyone except maybe Toronto Maple Leaf fans. Although he is best known for this children's classic, he was also a novelist for adults and much like the Hockey Sweater, his novella La Guerre- Yes Sir! attempts to explain the eccentricities that divide us and bring us together.

The novel takes place in a small Quebec during WWI. The town acts as the backdrop for a fable-like story of conscription, religion, love, family and yes- the dreaded French-English relations. The novel features a variety of soldiers- one on leave, one avoiding going all together, one upon his return and one upon his return in a coffin. These French soldiers, in all their states, are interrupted by English soldiers escorting the coffin of the fallen French soldier. Add in a few dozen drunk villagers and trouble is bound to happen.

The novel is at times terrifyingly violent, but the characters are written with great compassion and the novel is clever and concise. A definitely worthwhile read.


1 comment:

  1. Interesting! This sounds like a pretty even-handed handling of a sticky issue in Canada. In fact, it might even be the stickiest issue.

    And I can't speak for all Toronto Maple Leafs fans but I definitely like the Hockey Sweater.