Roch Carrier Joan Harcourt - Essay

Joan Harcourt

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

La Guerre, Yes Sir! and Floralie, Where Are You? are much more alike in mood than Is It The Sun, Philibert? … is to either of the others. The action of the first two covers, in each case, the span of a single rural night. Philibert takes us to the city and compresses months of misery into a brief hundred pages.

The first two books are a mordant mixture of desperate joy and surrealist horror, morality plays on the rampage. La Guerre revolves around the funeral and wake of a young soldier, whose union-jack draped body has been brought back to his home for burial…. The villagers are divided viciously each from the other, and as quickly united against any outside influence, so that, in the end, a grim communal front prevails. Les maudits anglais are frequently invoked but are not really seen as a tangible threat…. It is the Church that looms over all, dictatorial, resented, but an utterly binding force. As rough cider loosens tongues, the most sacred concepts become terms of invective and hate. Thus purged, the villagers wearily file into church the following morning, to hear their curé deliver a blood-chilling sermon on the evils of resisting the state in which God has seen fit to place them.

Floralie takes us back thirty years in time, to the wedding night of the parents of the dead boy in La Guerre. The setting is reminiscent of Bergman's "The Seventh Seal," with its symbolic overtones. There is a gruesome journey through a forest from the bride's home to the...

(The entire section is 641 words.)