Last fall, we were able to discover a whole part of the life of actress and author Louise Portal thanks to One summer, three Graces, a book in which her friends Marie-Lou Dion and Christiane Pasquier also participated. And while we can now see her on the TV series Too much, Louise Portal has agreed to tell us more about her readings.
Do you remember which novel you started to appreciate literature with?
Oh yes ! I was about 15 when my dad gave me The visionary by Julien Green. The character grabbed me, the atmosphere of the novel marked me. I participated in the Histoires de livres collective [paru en 2010 chez Hurtubise] and I wrote the news there Why the hell did I retrace my steps? from that novel.
Could you tell us about books that have been particularly important in your life?
- Firstly there is The pilgrimage to the sources, by Lanza Del Vasto, a book that was given to me in 1974 by a friend. I was going to Mexico at that time, and it was my first spiritual journey book. It tells the story of a British man who decides to leave everything to go and live in India. When I came back I repainted my apartment white and started dressing just white! It is a book that I still have and which is all shriveled. I brought it back to Mexico last year to read it again.
- Care of the soul, by Thomas Moore. A terrific book with great thoughts, I’ve been re-reading since 2004. I think this is my seventh reading, and my copy now looks like a rainbow because every time I read it I highlight different passages in mauve, orange, blue, yellow … In fact, it is a teaching book.
- Gabrielle Roy – A Life, by François Ricard, a big brick on the life of Gabrielle Roy. It was like a revelation for me and afterwards, I read all the work of Gabrielle Roy, whom I did not know. So I discovered his books and it was a pure delight. I realized that we had a writing kinship because his life is also very present in his books.
- Letters to a young poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke. The copy that I have was given to me by Marie-Lou Dion in 1975. It is a book that I offer to young women who are in the process of writing or knowing themselves.
All genres combined, what were your most recent favorites?
The leaking woman, by Anais Barbeau-Lavalette. A book that I found incredible for its subject matter and the quality of its writing. Anaïs knew how to tell the story of her mother and her grandmother in a fair way, without ever judging them, and her book fully deserves the influence it has received.
Other readings that carried me away? Lost train, by Jocelyne Saucier. I really got on the train with Gladys, a character that I would like to play one day. It is the quest of an elderly woman who wants to retrace the path of yesterday and, at the same time, move towards the future. To read !
Released in 2018, there is also The flap, by Philippe Lançon. Usually I don’t read bricks. I like small books. But this brick full of repetitions is an inspiring book that brings us back to our own reality. What we have difficulty going through is nothing compared to what Philippe Lançon was able to go through …
I also add the biography Mouffe: at the heart of showbiz, by Carmel Dumas. A very beautiful, not boring book that takes us completely back to the 70s and 80s, which are the years when I worked on four albums and been friends with Mouffe. It brought me back to my past, to an environment full of effervescence.
Which books are you absolutely planning to read in the next few weeks?
Kukum, by Michel Jean, that’s for sure. I really want to discover this book and I find it wonderful that it received this award [le Prix littéraire France-Québec]. I believe it is deserved!
And which one are you reading now?
The register of worry, by Linn Ullmann, who is the daughter of filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and actress Liv Ullmann. She talks about her relationship with her father and their plan to write a book together. She is one of those authors who feel the need to talk about their parents, and especially their father. As we age, we feel the need to revisit our life, as if to leave something as a legacy …
No matter what genre or year it was published, is there a book you actually wish you had written?
It was raining birds, by Jocelyne Saucier, a book that I have read at least three times. I was dazzled by the writing, by the major themes that run through it (such as friendship at any age, nature and the choice of one’s death). It is a remarkable book that I would have liked to write.