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The Tin Flute (1945)

por Gabrielle Roy

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The Tin Flute, Gabrielle Roy’s first novel, is a classic of Canadian fiction. Imbued with Roy’s unique brand of compassion and compelling understanding, this moving story focuses on a family in the Saint-Henri slums of Montreal, its struggles to overcome poverty and ignorance, and its search for love. An affecting story of familial tenderness, sacrifice, and survival during the Second World War,The Tin Flutewon both the Governor General’s Award and the Prix Fémina of France. The novel was made into a critically acclaimed motion picture in 1983. From the Hardcover edition.… (mais)
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Québec's Quiet Revolution (La Révolution tranquille) was still a good dozen years in the future when Gabrielle Roy wrote The Tin Flute. It was a massive social movement which threw off the yoke of the Catholic Church, and the economic, cultural, and political dominance of the anglophone minority establishment. Many of the francophones who led and who supported the movement would have come from homes where that was the way things were; often accepted without question.

World War II began to change the status quo. This is where Roy's novel begins. Set in Saint Henri, among the tanneries, factories, and railways of one of Montréal's worst slums, it tells the story of the LaCasse family, a not untypical family for the time. Florentine, the eldest child at nineteen, worked at a lunch counter at a five and dime store. She was determined she would never lead the life her mother had. Rose-Anna, her mother, was pregnant with her twelfth child. Azarius, her father, was about to be fired from his current job as a taxi driver. Although full of ideas and schemes, he was never able to get anything off the ground, pulling his family further and further into poverty.

May 1, the traditional moving day in Montréal was approaching quickly , and cheaper accommodation had to be found for the family. Each year's move was to smaller and dingier quarters despite the increase in family size. Although Rose-Anna subscribed to the idea that her children should go to school, it was not always possible. While the older ones had completed an expected number of grades, the younger ones often couldn't attend school due to illness, or lack of basics such as waterproof shoes in which to get there.

The war had brought new demands for labour, new opportunities, but also new demands for housing and higher prices. The family was surviving on Florentine's wages, so her brother made the decision to enlist for the monthly stipend it would bring. The war was a matter of contention in their community, however. Presented by the authorities as a war for the King and the British Empire, it had little relevance for a population which still identified with France, even almost two hundred years after the conquest. The fallout from the Conscription Crisis of 1917 still lingered in people's minds, and they were not eager to help out.

Some, however, saw opportunity on the domestic front in the war. Such a one was Jean Lévesque. Florentine naively envisioned herself in love with Jean, who saw her as just another conquest, while at the same time being inexplicably drawn to her.
He knew now that Florentine's house reminded him of the thing he most dreaded: poverty, that implacable smell of poor clothing, the poverty you could recognize with your eyes shut. He realized that Florentine personified this kind of wretched life against which his whole being was in revolt. And in the same moment he understood the feeling that drew him toward her: she was his own poverty, his solitude, his sad childhood, his lonely youth. She was all that he had hated, all that he had left behind him, but also everything that remained intimately linked to him, the most profound part of his nature and the powerful spur of his destiny.
He had to reject her. Emmanuel Létourneau, his old friend, did fall in love with Florentine, who in turn spurned him until she needed him.

This is a surprising book for the time in its frankness. A first novel, it became a classic in French speaking Canada, and on translation into English, a pan Canadian classic. It is now a Penguin Modern Classic. Roy won the Governor - General's Award with it, but as an indication of just one thing wrong with the two solitudes, she did not win it until it had been translated into English. At the time of its publication there was no award for fiction in French. She won again in translation in 1957. An award for French fiction was first given out in 1959, and she won again, in French in 1977. She has also won France's Prix Femina, and Québec's Prix David.
2 vote SassyLassy | Jan 12, 2024 |
Der er noget meget tidstypisk over Roys debutroman fra 1945. Det er som om, hvert land har sine romaner om depressionen og fattigdommens udmarvende ødelæggelse af de mest udsatte familier, historier hvor hvert lyspunkt og kilde til håb om bedring afløses af endnu større fortvivlelse og ydmygelse for hænderne af dem, der har deres på det tørre. Her er scenen sat hos fransk-canadierne i en af Montreals forstæder, men vi kunne lige så vel være blandt Steinbecks daglejere i Californien, Harald Kiddes arbejdere i København eller Orwells fattige i London og Paris. Alligevel er der en overraskende sprække – det vender jeg tilbage til.

Romanen udspiller sig i foråret 1940. I åbningsscenen er den unge Florentine på arbejde som servitrice i en café i et stormagasin, hvor hun betages af den lidt ældre Jean. Det er forunderligt, for han behandler hende dybest set som skidt, men alligevel drømmer hun snart om, at han skal have lige så meget lyst til hende, som hun får til ham. Jean er ung og ambitiøs, bruger aftenerne på at studere, og han vil ikke lade noget stå i vejen for sin egen flugt fra en udsat baggrund.

Herfra breder historien sig ud. Florentine er den ældste i Azarius’ og Rose-Annas store børneflok. De blev gift, da Azarius var en ung, flot tømrer, og selvom tilværelsen har været hård ved dem, så er der stadig ægte kærlighed og nænsomhed mellem dem. Problemet er, at Azarius ikke har kunnet finde arbejde inden for sit fag siden depressionen, og han er for stolt til at acceptere dårligere jobs eller til at ydmyge sig over for arbejdsgiverne for et par dages løn. I stedet kaster han sig ud i risikable luftkasteller, mens familien synker dybere og dybere ned i armod. Det er Rose-Anna, der holder sammen på husholdningen, det er hende der får pengene til at strække, spekulerer over næste års bolig, når de uvægerligt siges op til maj, og sidder oppe hele natten for at lappe de nedslidte klæder. Det er kun Florentines løn, der sikrer overlevelsen, men hvor længe vil hun ofre alt for en familie, der er som et bundløst hul af elendighed. Og vil de næste i søskendeflokken hjælpe til, eller vil de flygte, så snart muligheden byder sig?

Romanen dykker dybt ned i de enkelte personers komplicerede følelsesliv. Det giver nuancer, men det kan også næsten være for meget af det gode, når Florentine f.eks. veksler mellem foragt og forelskelse i Jean talrige gange på fem minutter. Samtidig farver Roy handlingen med beskrivelser og tillægsord, der gør læsningen lidt tung og som samtidig peger lidt for tydeligt på det triste udfald, som man meget tidligt ved vil komme.

Alligevel er der som nævnt en overraskende åbning, nemlig krigen. Der bliver fulgt med i udviklingen i Europa, også i det det jævne Saint-Henri, hvor unge mænd pludseligt står over for nye valg. Oprustningen sparker økonomien i gang og giver nye karriereveje, uanset om den enkelte er drevet af ambitioner som Jean eller af frygten for at blive indkaldt. Soldatertilværelsen giver i sig selv nye – om end farlige – veje ud af fattigdommen, og flere af bogens personer vælger netop det. Hvis man alligevel er ved at gå til grunde, så er det måske ikke så slemt at tage chancen i hæren?

Roy balancerer fint mellem at vise de reelle muligheder som krigen giver og de lige så reelle sociale forskelle, der bæres med ind i militærets orden. Graden af frihed og mængden af muligheder er ikke ligeligt fordelt – heller ikke når krigen bryder ud. ( )
  Henrik_Madsen | Feb 17, 2023 |
A marvellous book. The realistic story, which deals with the struggles of a poor family in Montreal during the Second World War, is strong and compelling. The characters are interesting, too, and the author’s description of their inner lives, their hopes and fears, is sublime. Her sophisticated use of vivid detail really made me feel like I was living in the Montreal of the 1940s. This is a classic novel that should be taught in Canadian schools. ( )
  Kathleen.Jones | Dec 22, 2021 |
Román podává obraz jedné kanadské rodiny, jednoho kanadského předměstí a celé jedné kanadské vrstvy na počátku druhé světové války. Hezounká Florentina s papírovou růží za uchem dělá číšnici u „Patnácti centů". Chodí sem mládenci z montrealského předměstí a někteří si Florentinu namlouvají. Ona ale zahoří tvrdošíjnou láskou k tomu nejméně lásce přístupnému, k tomu, co nemá na děvčata čas, protože ve dne dělá dvojité směny ve slévárně a po nocích se ve svém pokojíku učí rovnicím. Jean Lévesque má totiž jediný přesný cíl: vybřednout za jakoukoliv cenu z mizérie, stát se „někým" a nedá si cestu zkřížit ničím a nikým, nejméně pak už malou Florentinou, jejíž hubená postavička mu příliš připomíná bídu, před kterou on sám tak zavile utíká. Lépe by Florentina byla udělala, kdyby se zakoukala do Emanuela - ten zase jinou než Florentinu nevidí a se svým vnímavým citlivým srdcem, se svou velkorysostí a dobrotou by jí mohl dát o tolik víc než Jean...
Štěstí z výprodeje je tedy románem o tom, jak se lidská srdce míjejí a jak nakonec každý musí vzít zavděk příležitostným náhradním kouskem štěstí, ale není jen o tom, a není hlavně o tom. To, čím si knížka získala světovou proslulost, čím se zařadila mezi klasiku kanadsko-francouzské literatury a čím si vysloužila jednu z nejpopulárnějších francouzských literárních cen (Femina 1947), je věrný, jímavý, vemlouvavý obraz jedné kanadské rodiny, jednoho kanadského předměstí a celé jedné kanadské vrstvy na počátku druhé světové války. Florentinina matka Rose-Anna, která ví, že svízele a bída jsou její úděl a nezná hořkost a výčitky, jen se projevuje v nejprostších gestech, jimiž se bez ustání snaží ulevit svým blízkým, tato Rose-Anna je velká postava. Mimořádný ve své všelidské platnosti je i otec Azarius, jemuž prý práce nevoní a rád by jen řečnil, ale také je nenapravitelný snílek čistého srdce, možná uhnětený z té látky, která je podstatou hrdinů. Jeho opakem je trpký Alfons, jehož projevy jsou brilantní ukázkou černého humoru a který ve své drsné obrazné (my bychom řekli hrabalovské) mluvě říká víc pravd, než by se na první pohled zdálo. Ti všichni se nějak vyrovnávají se skutečností, že pár tisíc mil od nich zuří válka. Kdo je zvyklý brát, ten z ní hledí získat, kdo umí dávat, ten dá - třebas i sebe. Štěstí z výprodeje je knížka z poměrně vzdálené doby a ze vzdálené země, ale podivuhodně blízká našim srdcím a našemu vnímání. (Založil/a: pezik)
  stpetr | Mar 29, 2020 |
> BONHEUR D'OCCASION, par Glenn Roy. — Premier roman écrit par Gabrielle Roy en 1945, Bonheur d'occasion brosse le portrait réaliste du quartier ouvrier et défavorisé de Saint-Henri, à Montréal, en 1940. On suit Florentine Lacasse, une jeune femme de 19 ans qui aide ses parents à subsister en travaillant comme serveuse au restaurant du Quinze-cents et rêve d'une vie meilleure. Amoureuse d'un client, Jean Lévesque, mais aimée d'Emmanuel Létourneau, un soldat en permission, Florentine ne peut faire sortir Jean de son coeur. Parallèlement, l'histoire présente Rose-Anna et Azarius, les parents de Florentine, et leur vie de famille difficile en raison de leur pauvreté. Roman symbolique de la misère dans laquelle vivaient les Canadiens français durant la crise économique des années 1930 et 1940, Bonheur d'occasion est un des premiers romans québécois ayant la ville comme arrière-plan. Couronné du prix Femina en 1947, le roman a connu un immense succès dès sa parution, a été traduit dans une quinzaine de langues et adapté au cinéma en 1983, dans une réalisation de Claude Fournier.
ICI.Radio-Canada.ca
  Joop-le-philosophe | Dec 31, 2018 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Gabrielle Royautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Brown, AlanTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Josephson, HannahTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stratford, PhilipPosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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The Tin Flute, Gabrielle Roy’s first novel, is a classic of Canadian fiction. Imbued with Roy’s unique brand of compassion and compelling understanding, this moving story focuses on a family in the Saint-Henri slums of Montreal, its struggles to overcome poverty and ignorance, and its search for love. An affecting story of familial tenderness, sacrifice, and survival during the Second World War,The Tin Flutewon both the Governor General’s Award and the Prix Fémina of France. The novel was made into a critically acclaimed motion picture in 1983. From the Hardcover edition.

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