With the looming environmental disaster, Antoine Desjardins associates news overflowing with humanity, despite everything with a hint of hope.
There is no load in Fire index, first book by young author Antoine Desjardins. A little anger, of course, but more melancholy in front of a world which changes abruptly.
Because there is nothing trivial that trees die, that the rain is incessant or that birds disappear.
Desjardins’s skill is to use these elements to highlight the personal torments of the protagonists of the seven short stories in his collection. The association is deployed with finesse, without forcing the line, and in the end it marks the spirits.
The first short story, “To drink upright”, judiciously sets the table.
The narrator is a secondary IV teenager who is about to die of incurable cancer. From the window of his hospital room, he hears the rain falling which, according to the radio, is causing flooding everywhere. So ubiquitous that it becomes the center of his jar, as he says.
From then on his thoughts settle like so many drops on his entourage, his family and the life which collapses outside (one only has to see the icebergs which melt) as in him.
His reflections are crudely lucid. “Hang on to life. Tell me about a beautiful shot. […] She’s the one hanging on, with her ten-inch-long fingernails stuck into our defenseless cancerous bodies. “
The latest story, “Ulmus Americana”, also refers to death: that of a grandfather and the elm of his suburban court. The grandson’s narrative is woven with powerless tenderness.
Between the two, we will have accompanied a couple expecting their first child, and the symbolic weight of whales stranded on the beaches will add to their fears as future parents. It is the father in the making who tells the story, all in restrained fragility.
Poetry in the service of conscience
There is also the tenacious quest of Aunt Angela, who wants to understand why the birds have abandoned her garden. The news is titled “General”, like a big rehearsal before everything changes.
If the quality of writing is such that with each short story, we identify with the narrator, one of them joins the universal. “Ends of the world” relates the great distress, which will turn into rage, of an 11-year-old boy who sees the hidden playground of his childhood disappear – a wood that adults forbade to visit – for the benefit of real estate development .
Even when he has grown up, the narrator avoids looking at the new district when he travels on the highway that runs alongside it. “His huts seemed to exist only to remind me that all good things come to an end, that everything only changes for the worse. “
This worst, which everyone can decline at will, goes through Fire Index. And yet, at Desjardins, he does not erase generosity, poetry, or the desire to do better.