LA RIVIÃˆRE SANS REPOS: GABRIELLE
Ellen R. Babby
Gabrielle Roy's role in the development of the QuÃ©bec
novel is undisputed. Indeed, her renowned text, Bonheur d'occasion, routinely appears on the syllabus of every introductory
course in QuÃ©bec literature, and its fine craftsmanship has
contributed significantly to the scholarly respect and recognition that the QuÃ©bec novel has gained. The popularity of this
text, however, has overshadowed Roy's other works, many of
which surpass Bonheur d'occasion stylistically and narratologically. One such text is La RiviÃ¨re sans repos.
of this text is simple, but underlying this facade is an intricate
network of plots.
This hybrid text is composed of three novellas followed
by a novel which bears the name of the volume's title. The
unifying strand is clearly visible: all of these stories, which
take place in northern QuÃ©bec, deal with the problem of cultural discordance between white and Inuit societies. This clash
has been well-documented and thus will not be detailed here.
A close reading of these works reveals another critical
unifying structure which I shall refer to as the "spectacular."
Its French equivalent, spectaculaire, with its connotations of
the spectacle, the site of representation, site of the play of
reality and fiction, and spectacle, something which is viewed,
("le fait de voir," Dictionnaire Robert),
reveals the highly
charged nature of this word. By isolating the elements of the
spectacular in both the short stories and the novel of La RiviÃ¨re
sans repos, I hope to contribute to the appreciation of this
"Les Nouvelles esquimaudes" is the subtitle which introduces the three short stories, "Les Satellites," "Le TÃ©lÃ©phone,"