Quebec Studies

The Last Interview: Gabrielle Roy

Quebec Studies (1986), 4, (1), 194–205.

Abstract

THE LAST INTERVIEW: GABRIELLE ROY Myrna Delson-Karan In f roducfion I wrote to Gabrielle Roy in the spring of 1982 requesting a personal interview that would enhance my research.' Roy 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 outfit-blue 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:

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Author details

Delson-Karan, Myrna