THE LAST INTERVIEW: GABRIELLE ROY
In f roducfion
I wrote to Gabrielle Roy in the spring of 1982 requesting a
personal interview that would enhance my research.'
responded in a hand-written letter saying that she was gravely
ill, but that she would try to grant me an interview if I called in
the month of May. I telephoned her on Friday, May 14, and the
date for the interview was finally confirmed for Tuesday, May
18,1982, at 1:30 p.m.
I arrived for the interview at Roy's winter residence on
the Grande All& near the center of Quebec City. The apartment
building itself was one of the older ones and seemed rather
austere and gloomy from the exterior, despite the bright and
sunny weather. Since in her letter to me Roy had said she was
"au grand repos," I had expected to see her in a weakened
condition and in rather old-fashioned surroundings.
Both of these preconceived notions proved to be false.
Madame Roy greeted me cheerfully at the door and, in fact,
appeared very much younger than her 73 years. She walked
with a brisk step and appeared to be rather athletic in her
slacks, a white sportblouse, a brown pullover
sweater, and brown, flat walking shocs. Her hair was combed
straight back neatly, and she was wearing make-up.
I cannot emphasize too greatly that Roy's photographs
scarcely resemble her. In her younger photographs, her face
appears to have an intense, almost bitter look. Her features are
sharp, and her nose is somewhat long and angular? In the
photographs that appeared during the last five years of her life,
she looks extremely old and has deep wrinkles.3 I could not
reconcile what I saw that day with her photographic likenesses.
Her face was not angular but full and round. Her nose was short
and her hair was only slightly gray. Her eyes, which give a
haunting, intense look to her photographs, were quite different: