A cat, retirement, and love can all be found in the new collection of stories by Lyne Gareau.
Le chat Janus shares three stories. All of them take place in British Columbia, in French.
“I write about the reality of life in British Columbia, in French. This is what I love to write,” says the author who was born in Quebec but has lived in British Columbia for the past 40 years.
She once taught primary school, and then university, until one day she realized life was passing her by, and she had to quit her job to write. She began her first book, La Librairie des Insomniacs, before she left Capilano University.
Full-time writing is a lot of work, but, she says, “I love it. I have lots of ideas.”
The title story, “Le Chat Janus,” is inspired by Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings.
“The protagonist is stuck between the past and the future,” says Gareau. “She is afraid to reconcile the past, and she is afraid of the future. It’s a bit of science fiction, where you have to leave everything behind in order to find your solution.”
There is also a Janus cat, a cat with one head and two faces, something that is not natural but that can be found to be beautiful in its own way.
Gareau says, “It’s all in the way you look at things.”
The second story, “Où on se trouve,” is autobiographical fiction that shares her personal experience of leaving work and beginning her retirement before the age of 60. “We never talk about retirement in literature. I had to dedicate myself to my craft, writing.”
Gareau also writes young adult novels. Her most recent, Isalou, is the story of a young girl who comes to see the world from two perspectives – her own, as Isabelle, and that of a young wolf, as Isalou. She makes the transition with a magic drum.
The girl discovers the wild wolves north of Bella Bella, British Columbia, the home of the Heiltsuk Nation. She finds herself in the body of a young wolf.
“The drum is part of many cultures. Her drum is different, not like the others. She plays it. She learns that life is like a circle. Everything is connected.”
Gareau believes it is important for young people to learn how to see things from the perspective of others. She says, “The world will be a better place.”