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Sylvain Nouvel: Testing Values, Immigration, and Science Fiction | Books Arts | the sun

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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“It came out as if this novel was ripening and suddenly ready to be thrown away. Probably one of the books I’ve written the fastest,” says Sylvain Nouvel from the start, in an interview with Solly.

The author, originally from L’Ancienne-Lorette, did not create The Exam under the yoke of anger or thanks to a sudden artistic appearance. No, it was sadness that prompted him to write 128 pages of the book.

To fully understand the era in which the book took hold, we must go back to … 2016. In a certain period of time, Sylvain Nouvel notes from afar the rise in Donald Trump’s popularity and the shift to the right that seems to be taking the whole world. Then, near him, in Quebec, the Quebec Future Alliance proposed, during an election campaign, to implement the Quebec Values ​​Test for newcomers.

“At first I thought it was a joke. […] Of all the things that can be done to get right, this is absolute nonsense!

“If a government that allows itself to make a judgment about someone’s way of thinking doesn’t scare everyone, then there is a problem. It should, at least, be ashamed of itself,” explains that person who also used, in his book, real questions taken from the applicable citizenship test in England.

So the famous writer, recognized internationally for his science fiction work, is also using this genre here to push the idea of ​​testing to the extreme. Even if his anticipatory novel goes beyond the concept of the theoretical test currently established by the Quebec government, Sylvain Nouvel does not think to explain the excesses of such examination.

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“I think drift is in the same sense as testing values,” asserts the author to whom we owe the series Thémis filesTranslated into 23 languages.

Sylvain Nouvel is well aware of tackling a hot topic in Audition that has stirred emotions in the past.

We have reached a point where everything is politicized. If we say that a person should be treated with respect, that is a political opinion. While it shouldn’t be, “he insists.

For him, Idir Jalil’s story prompts readers above all to see the human side behind the bureaucracy, administration and immigration standards.

When the crisis happened in Syria, we had a discussion about ideas about taking in refugees. For me, if there’s one thing that stands for excellence, this is it. [Cette situation] It was nothing but a discussion of ideas. Behind these events, there were real people […]

“When things go wrong, we come close to ourselves. Me, I think we should get rid of this reflex. It is not a way of life to be afraid of everything that is not like us.”

In the mood for time

the exam (the test) It was first published in 2019 in English. If this first edition was well received by critics and the public, could the French translation be received another way in France or in Quebec?

It is difficult to say, according to the writer, who confirms, however, that his novel is “current” in several countries in the world, regardless of the language.

Of course, the concept of immigration differs between the United States and Canada. It is even more so between France and Quebec. I am really curious how the book will be received. “

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He asserts that the emergence of the right to identity, “fear of the other” and discussions of ideas about immigration are not, however, unknown to citizens, whether they come from here or elsewhere.

The Sylvain Neuvel exam will be found on April 21 in libraries throughout Quebec. Work is also underway on a film project directed by Gavin Hood. Filming, starring Payman Maadi and John Boyega, is set to begin by the end of 2021.

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