Marie Demers pushes the boundaries of self-fiction in “Les diversions”

In in between (Hurtubise, 2016) and Love disorders (2017), her first two novels, Marie Demers features Ariane and Marianne, two women in their twenties who go round and round, tirelessly repeating the same motives and mistakes, accumulating romantic failures, impossible ambitions and escapes.

However, after having exposed and explored her flaws through her alter egos, the author felt the need to go further, to write what she had never wanted or dared to say, looking for what, in the wounds of her childhood, the flaws of her parents and her relationship with men and authority could explain the impasses that accumulate in her life, fueling self-hatred along with the burning urges of death .

In The amusementsborn as a result of a severe depressive episode, the writer reveals herself in her most tortuous and tormented truth, dedicating herself to an exercise of self-fiction as daring as it is risky, driven both by her instinct and by her “passion for the ‘hara-kiri’. .

Here, Marie Demers revisits more or less well-known (but rarely glorious) facts about her tempestuous relationship with her mother, the author Dominique Demers, her toxic loves, including her numerous suicide attempts, her passing of the accused in the latest wave of allegations in the #MeToo movement, as well as intimate details of his therapy.

The tone is raw, rough, without any kind of filter or aesthetic consideration. The novelist exploits the full powers of self-writing and literature to find her truth, shake off the hated victim status, and perhaps even, if possible, begin some form of healing, despite the judgments or the anger it might arouse. “Because it is these stories that keep me alive, those whose meaning I seek and question what I have learned. Because this place that is specific to me and my vision that carries it cannot be endlessly burdened with what others think of it. This book is mine and he is writing it for me which ensures my survival. »

With its breathless cadence, the novel makes tangible the acute pain of a woman whose days pass without letting us rarely see the brightness of the sky, like a series of waves breaking mercilessly, without the possibility of recovering the breath, and that, until the last pages.

Cluttered, full of vain details, oozing self-pity, The amusements it annoys as much as it fascinates. Driven by the carefree and voracious rhythm of those who have something to prove, this exhibition stands out for its total absence of clichés, for its anger brandished at a distance and for a destabilizing authenticity that returns the reader to his own contradictions and internalized others. prejudices An exercise whose hangover should not overshadow the courage.

Marie Demers will be participating in a panel discussion on “Writing Therapy” on November 22nd at SLM, as well as offering signing sessions on November 22nd, 24th and 25th.

The amusements


Marie Demers, Hurtubise, Montreal, 2023, 346 pages

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