By François Barcelo
L. a. Réunion, au milieu de l’océan Indien, est une île splendide et très peu visitée par les Nord-Américains. Un Québécois vieillissant, Raoul Damphousse, est invité à y diriger une école de danse à claquettes. Incapable du moindre pas de danse, il ira de mensonges en déceptions, et ne verra rien de cette île où il se tournera en ridicule plus souvent qu’à son tour.
Dans ce roman, François Barcelo discover des thèmes parfois nouveaux pour lui : le vieillissement, l. a. difficulté de communiquer, le dépaysement, l’arrogance weird and wonderful des Québécois. Mais toujours avec l’ironie mordante et le sens de l’autodérision qui sont ses marques de commerce.
Raoul Damphousse est un champion de l. a. danse à claquettes, activité dont il a dû abandonner los angeles pratique à los angeles suite d’un twist of fate. Il s’est depuis recyclé dans l. a. podorythmie avec plus ou moins de succès. Un jour, une dame de los angeles Réunion l’invite à venir dans cette île de l’océan Indien pour assurer los angeles course de l’école de claquettes de son défunt mari. Damphousse arrive, pour deux mois, et espère transformer ses apprentis danseurs en podorythmistes accomplis. Il ne passera dans l’île qu’une semaine et n’en verra pratiquement rien. Mais il apprendra à connaître ses gens, surtout les jeunes. Et à se connaître lui-même... ce qui est parfois bien plus difficile.
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He said he had heard of something called the Advertising Code of Practice, and although he was sure that gross deception would be perfectly all right there was always the off-chance that somebody might make difficulties. In the end they agreed to the meeting with Sir Hector, and they told me to take full notes. They told me it would have to be as early as possible, before Sir Hector had started thinking for the day, and so at ten o’clock the following morning I met the American on the steps to the office and led him into the boardroom to see our Chairman.
Now, as it happened, the people my friend was staying with were working farmers who had to spend most of their time at point-to-points and eating-houses with others in the same line of occupation, and after he had been with them for a few weeks they told him one evening that they were going over to Newmarket the following day. They were going on business, they said, and would be away for a few nights, but he would be most welcome to pop over and join them if he cared to make it a day trip. ’ said one of the farmers as they stood at the bar.
Fraser said that the critical point here was that the invitation had been accepted. How the hell we were going to comply with it was a different matter, but the effort would have to be made. He said that when his honour had been pledged he wasn’t prepared to see innocent people like the De Veres let down. Henry said it was bloody inconvenient, but it didn’t do to be stand-offish towards neighbours. ’ I said I supposed we had. ‘The big difference,’ I explained to Penny, ‘is that this is just one evening, not the best part of a week, which is what will be entailed in a holiday.