Local Author Hooks Students with Tales of October Crisis

Written by Kristen Goodall

John Abbott College Information and Library Technologies Dept.

St. Anne de Bellevue, Oct. 28. Montreal-based author Claire Holden Rothman held a public reading of excerpts from her newest release, My October. The event, which took place at John Abbott College, was hosted by Calvin Haley and Pascal Marinier of the college’s Information and Library Technologies program. Ms. Rothman, whose latest work was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, described to students how her own experiences during the October Crisis of 1970 inspired her novel.

Rothman explained her many influences when writing the novel, notably Gabrielle Roy’s The Tin Flute. She recounted how she copied Roy’s method of pretending to shop for apartments in order to gain access to homes in the neighbourhood where both novels are set, Montreal’s St-Henri district. The National Post review commends Rothman on her “remarkable job of illustrating the complexities of middle-class life in contemporary Montreal — at least among anglo and francophones.” Rothman followed her description of the artistic process with a reading of two excerpts, one each from the point of view of Hugo, the main protagonist, and his father, Luc.  She concluded with a Question & Answer period, when many attendees shared their own memories of the FLQ and the October Crisis.