New novel by Jean-Pierre Charland: a journey through time

Jean-Pierre Charland's new novel: a journey through time


What if time travel was possible? Jean-Pierre Charland, a prolific historian and novelist much appreciated by his many readers, imagined that a man of today, Samuel Côté, took a leap back 100 years in his new novel, strong>Hobby. Wounded in the head and partially amnesiac, Samuel wakes up in a hospital on August 30, 1921. He has trouble convincing himself that he is not crazy! What could have happened?

When he wakes up, Samuel Côté has the reflex to look for the various machines that are usually found in a hospital room. There are not any. The nurse caring for him wears a nun's headdress and there is a large black crucifix on the wall.

Samuel realizes with amazement that he has stepped back in time and resigns himself to build a life in this new dimension. He makes friends… and falls in love with the beautiful Iris. But one day, the shock arrives: he wakes up again in 2021. How to find his beloved?

“It’s like showing my frosty side!” commented Jean-Pierre Charland straight away, in an interview. “I showed my serious side… but that's it! I am a big reader of time travel stories. It amused me to make one, whose main character is a reader of these novels. It opens a door.”


He explains his approach.

“When you write a historical novel, as an author, you're not supposed to be surprised by what you're talking about, even if the behaviors, the contexts are very different from what you know.”

“But when you have a character who jumps from one era to another, you have a character who is allowed to react to what he sees. I thought it was a freedom that was interesting, which appears more in the second volume than in the first, moreover. I liked that freedom.” 

In volume 2, which will be published in November, the journey will be in the opposite direction, he says.

Jean-Pierre Charland, a retired historian and university professor, never skimps on research work. The novel is rich in historical references and interesting details: the advertisements in the newspaper, the nuns, the furnishings of the hospital. It feels like a quantum leap.

The literary device is very interesting. 

“It's so interesting that I wonder how I can do it again! For the next novels, it will be a nice little classic saga that I am finishing. But afterwards, I wonder how I can do that again, without repeating it, while remaining plausible. When we talk about time travel, it's hard to be plausible… but finally, not too “dismissed”!»

A desire to escape.. .

The desire to escape was very present when he started the project. Jean-Pierre Charland recalls that the context in which he writes is never innocent and specifies that he started writing this novel three days after the confinement of Quebec. 

“I wrote Passe Temps with the disgust of Quebec's confinement. Moreover, it comes back in the text: the desire to change era is very well located in events that are intimate. His love life is not going very well, but he is also in the collective depression of the pandemic,” he points out.

“When he leaves, he leaves because 2021 seems extremely heavy to bear. It's a trio: the death of his parents, a breakup, but also the disgust of being locked up. He goes on a trip. And he goes on a trip that way. It's the search for a change of scenery.” 

♦ Jean-Pierre Charland holds a doctorate in history and another in didactics.

♦ He is now a retired college professor.

♦ He has published several successful historical series, including Generation 1970, La Pension Caro and < em>Odile and Xavier.

♦ The second volume of this new series will be released on November 23.


Time seemed to pass all the more slowly because Samuel had no way of knowing the time. Assuming that they had brought him food at noon, it was in the middle of the afternoon that he saw a man of about his age – mid-thirties – enter. He wore a very pale gray linen suit, held a straw hat in one hand and a black leather bag in the other.

— Sir, I am glad to see you awake. How are you feeling?

— Better than last night, when I came to…well, I think it was yesterday.

— Yes.

— If I felt worse, I guess I would have died.”< /p>