With Intrusive, Claudine Dumont plunges us into the murky waters of Camille’s brain, a character eaten away by insomnia who will have to face her inner monsters to discover who she really is. Warning: nightmares in sight.
Originally from Laval, Claudine Dumont is a doctoral student in literature and is also a high school teacher. His first two novels, Anabiosis (2013) and The little girl who loved Stephen King (2015), were very well received.
With Intrusive, which she publishes after a six-year hiatus during which she notably embarked on the adventure of opening a café (now closed) with her sister, she once again offers a psychological thriller flirting with horror that keeps us at the end of our chair from start to finish.
This third novel may be coming to the end of a writing cycle, she says. “It’s a bit like the times in photography, where you just discovered a filter and all your photos look the same! I may want to explore other things in the future, but psychology and psychoanalysis remain themes that interest me, ”explains the one who has also been involved in photography for several years.
I always start my novels from a question.
So in Anabiosis, she wondered if we could manage to “manufacture” the feeling of love by depicting two strangers caught together in a panting camera. In her second novel, she instead explored the limits of love – “can you continue to love someone even if they change?” – by telling the story of two sisters whose fusional relationship is threatened by an accident that will change everything.
The genesis of Intrusive This time is a question that she sums up as follows: “If we make a mistake in interpreting who we think we are, while our personality is being built, what happens? And to answer this question, the novelist imagined an effective psychological suspense, a nightmarish world populated by swarming insects and monsters lurking in the shadows, where reality takes on disturbing colors to say the least.
If she admits to having always had a “super traditional” life, Claudine Dumont developed from a young age a fascination for the horror genre. “The books allowed me to feel things that I couldn’t experience in reality. It is an intensity that I love and what I want to bring to my readers. ”
To be his worst enemy
Intrusive begins when the character of Camille is breaking into a thousand pieces. She hasn’t slept for weeks, barely eats, loses touch with reality. No treatment or pill helps, until, at the end of her resources and absolutely wanting to see her niece Jeanne, the daughter of her brother Laurent, she agrees to go and meet a man named Gabriel in his house far from everything. .
The latter, gruff, mysterious, even disturbing, has an intriguing machine which, he claims, can record dreams. And he thinks he can help Camille sleep again. But she will first have to accept to lose control, to let it enter her unconscious, which she resists with a stubbornness that comes from the instinct of survival.
What is she afraid to discover, buried in the limbo of her brain, hidden in the dark? “I don’t want to be that woman who is afraid of what moves in the dark of her mind,” Camille remarks with distress in the first pages of the novel.
To explain how her character got there, the author makes skilful returns to the past, where we gradually discover to what extent Camille’s mother, a disturbing character whom the little girl idolizes, instilled in her a need for visceral control that takes on increasingly twisted and horrifying proportions.
“One of the themes of the novel is control. In our society this is often seen as a good deal, but there is a very negative side, long term consequences. This is what I wanted to explore: when control makes you become your worst enemy ”, details Mme Dumont.
“The book works like a dream,” explains the author. Not just in the passages where Camille dreams, but also in the sequences which tell memories, which are always caused by something that happened in her day. ”
Skillfully blurring the line separating dreams from reality, she twists the reader in her spider’s web, keeping him captive, playing with landmarks. Is Camille awake or sleeping? Gabriel, with his dark and cloudy gaze, is he really threatening?
During her literary studies at UQAM, Claudine Dumont took a keen interest in psychoanalysis. For this new opus, she plunged back into readings on the unconscious, dreams, their symbolism. “I read about the interpretation of dreams, including research in neuroscience, which is not only based on the unconscious. Everything I talk about in the book is documented, such as hallucinations after several days of insomnia, episodes of microsleep… But I also had a lot of fun telling some dreams, because I saw the film in my head! ”
Speaking of film, his first book was to be transposed to the big screen by director Éric Tessier, a project that finally fell through. Never mind, she started working on the script for The intrusive. ” Nobody asked me, but I think it would make a good movie! She concludes, laughing. A very good idea, would we like to add …
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