1683903654 Granby Past Simple Akim Gagnon talks about the man

Granby Past Simple | Akim Gagnon talks about the man in his life – La Presse

“With my father, you never know when the comedy show ends and when the Greek tragedy begins,” writes Akim Gagnon in Granby in the past simple, a chronicle of his difficult childhood in a camper van as full of holes as they are good intentions from his fascinating father.

Posted at 12:48 am. Updated at 07:00.


He would be offered the comfiest four-poster bed, which Akim Gagnon’s father would still prefer to sleep on the couch. When his own father dies, the then 17-year-old young man is welcomed by his grandfather in his small apartment. The couch becomes his sanctuary.

“Pop doesn’t seem to make any connection between the couch he snuggled on the day he was orphaned and all the subsequent couches he threw himself on,” writes his son in Granby in the Simple Past, the sequel to his first novel The Cigar on the Edge of Lips. “Everything is very clear to me. It reminds me once again that with pop, the answers lie in the subtext. »

Granby Past Simple Akim Gagnon talks about the man


Akim Gagnon

A loving father who constantly has the words “I love you” in his mouth, Papa Gagnon does not fit the archetype of this monosyllabic man who fills Quebec fiction with his proverbial deafening silence. But saying “I love you” is not enough to just convey love.

One day when the floor of his RV rises due to a burst pipe blocking a door, he decides to just fix the door in question rather than fix it. Avoid his problems and his feelings in order to better pass them on to his offspring? The Lord knew about it.

“The house was like my father’s head, who was struggling with a growing depression,” wrote Akim Gagnon, who referred to these many “funny stories” in an interview in a billiard room where he was playing with his brother Karl that afternoon. remembered, which appeared afterwards “You have become sad”.

Akim strokes the worn fabric of the sofa we’re sitting on. “I can’t look at a sofa without thinking about my father. I see my father on every couch in the world. He adds, with the mixture of sweet arrogance and dizzying clarity that pervades his young work, “But I apologize to my father for giving Christie a good book and for being unaware of the burden of his love was.” »

Learn to love yourself

Waiting for papa to turn left before dedicating a novel to him, as so many writers before him have preferred? “I wanted him to read me and cut Akim to pieces. Mainly because my goal wasn’t to be hard on my father, but to be open. »

I cried a lot while writing because I was moved by my father’s path. I remember a father in the book who is not the one I am meeting today. He has evolved, the man. He learned to love himself.

Akim Gagnon

The son also learned to love himself, largely thanks to writing. Few books are read with as much joy, even in their darkest moments, as Granby is in The Simple Past, not only because Akim Gagnon has an incredible grasp of the image that is both unusual and heartily familiar, but also and above all, because A joy coupled with jubilation makes each of its chapters pulsate.

The Simple Past he uses almost throughout – an idea that occurred to him while reading a translation of Bukowski – contributes much to this comic tension between the noblesse of a verb form that mistakes itself for another and the anxious prose of an environment in the only acting class made him believe there was another life elsewhere.

“When writing came into my life,” recalls the man who experienced literature’s revelation late in life, in his mid-twenties, “it was the first time I took care of myself, that I wasn’t drugged that I listened to myself to know what I really think. »

I discovered that what I loved doing the most was what I had always feared the most.

Akim Gagnon

The real Akim

It was through writing that Akim Gagnon finally encountered his true identity, while his father, on the contrary, is the example of a masculinity that has had difficulty defining itself other than through the identity that its place in society bestowed on it. Granby’s humble past implicitly paints a portrait of an era that failed in its commitments to a working class that had been promised comfort and tranquillity.

When his factory lays off hundreds of workers, Akim’s father also loses one of the few bases of his personal esteem. “The factory, the ham at Christmas, the holidays – it all suited him perfectly,” notes the author. My father believed in this system and overnight he was told that what he believed in would no longer work and that he needed to go back to school. »

Granby’s last sentence in the past simple? “I’m Richard Gagnon’s type. »

“If that was the last sentence I wrote,” reveals Akim with a smile full of tenderness, “it would sum it all up.” »

Who is Akim Gagnon?

  • Akim Gagnon first made a name for himself as a music video director for his brother Karl’s (renamed Carl-Camille in his books) project Philippe Brach, Klô Pelgag and VioleTT Pi. Today he is an editor for various television programs.
  • Was born in Granby in September 1989.
  • February 2022 saw the release of The Wick, an overly generous first novel that talked a lot about his guts.

Granby in the past easy

Granby in the past easy

the wick

416 pages