Strange worlds, reality gone wrong… Jacques Lemaire demonstrates a whole imagination on the theme of disappearance!
This is a first foray into literature for Jacques Lemaire, who worked for a long time in the school world. It unfolds in 14 short stories whose title of its collection announces the theme: Disappear.
One of these stories is already known, however, since in 2019, “Le ravin” won the Prix de la nouvelle de Radio-Canada. It is all the more to point out that the jury, that year, was composed of the great Marie-Claire Blais, alongside Blaise Ndala and Stéfanie Clermont, themselves solid writers.
“Le ravine” remains one of the strong texts of Disappear. It closely follows the thoughts of a World War II soldier about to be shot. We are in his head and it is overwhelming.
But other news is also disturbing. Two texts that affect everyday life stand out in this regard.
First there is “Travel diary”, where a tourist who likes to mingle with the local fauna will find himself a victim. We identify with the narrator throughout, but deep down, the reversal of the situation he is experiencing is completely logical.
In another vein, “La mémoire en allée (diary of a gone)” captures realistically the increasingly confusing world of a woman with Alzheimer's disease. We come out of it deeply moved.
As for the strangeness, it is not limited to dreams in Lemaire's universe. You have to see how a tattoo artist becomes obsessed with the elegant design he draws on attractive skin. And how a man begins to frequent a court in the Plateau Mont-Royal, attracted by a Thing that makes him give up everything. The short story is called “The end of the world”, and it is not in vain.
Madness and chills
We will also smile at the premise of the first short story which, like the collection, is called “Disappear”. At 15, the protagonist decides “to be nobody”, which is quite another thing than dying. Rather, it is about making sure “we forget him and he forgets himself”. And to inspire him, he turns to a school friend who leaves him absolutely indifferent and who is called… Jacques Lemaire.
The collection is however not marked by humor . Rather, it delves into the darker aspects of being human, which sometimes leads to madness or extreme, chilling behavior.
But it ends on a sweet note: love for a dog for his master, a man with a dark past who crumbles before his eyes. The beast will not forget it.
Each story is told with the appropriate tone, none are alike, and we embark without difficulty in the proposed scenarios. Even the confusing is rendered with credibility.
In fact, nothing is loose here; even the vocabulary and syntax are remarkably mastered. Lemaire controls all of his disappearances!
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128