Denis Bombardier, a year later

Recently I went with my friends Lucy and Sylvie to bring flowers to the little cemetery in the Eastern Townships where Denis Bombardier is buried. No grave to her name yet: My friend Denise was sane for the first time in her life.

One year ago yesterday, Denise died. She is so full of life.

As I stood in the shade of these beautiful trees, I thought of how imposing Denise’s legacy was. As much as we miss her, I miss her.

Black and white

Readers reading this never go a week without you magazine She told me about her that she loves very much. We wanted to read about the ugliness of Montreal, the complications of the French elections, the ignorance of anti-Israel activists, or the stupidity of non-gendered types at Gémeaux (who thankfully changed their minds for the next gala).

I couldn’t help but think how 82-year-old Denise was in the right frame of mind when two American candidates, aged 78 and 81, were competing to see who was the shortest!

Yesterday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation put “The Great Interviews of Denis Bombardier” back online, pulled from the archives a year ago. Fortunately, the glossary is admirable: “As an interviewer, this brilliant woman was able to rub shoulders with the leading intellectuals, great writers and political figures who made news of her time.”

I listened to these interviews yesterday and was amazed by Denise’s listening skills (a dying quality) and her erudition. He talks about the oil crisis with Raymond Aaron and the constitution with Pierre Elliott Trudeau with equal ease. I was particularly interested in two literary interviews broadcast by Radio-Canada.

Denis devotes half an hour to an interview with the Italian writer Alberto Moravia. Their frank discussion of the mystery of faith and the role of the writer is absolutely fascinating.

And in a 1982 interview, from the show black white, Denise chats with author Marie-Claire Blaise. “Some people are interested in art and less in writing,” Blaise told her, hiding behind a fringe of hair.

Two chairs, one table, two guests. Can you imagine an interview today without the bling-bling, the forced laughter, the audience, and no stage? Does an interviewer who has read books ask writers questions about their books?

Culture with a small c

In a funny coincidence, this week Radio-Canada announced the upcoming visit An open book, hosted by Mariana Mazza. Among the questions addressed in this “literary magazine”: “What is in the library of France d’Amour? Or Lydia Bouchard? Why do we fall asleep when we read? Do horror books affect the mentally ill? What is a prisoner allowed to read? What attracts children to a book cover?”

I can already imagine the fiery column Denise would have written on Radio-Canada about what happened to literature!

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