October 18, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Papino secret | The Journal of Montreal

Papino secret |  The Journal of Montreal

Matthew Thomas presented a rare object in Quebec literature: combining the politics of yesterday and today with fiction. Wonderful and exciting!

Matthew Thomas gives fans of public affairs so much fun that when they are immersed in fantasy, they often have to find something to eat outside of Quebec. Intimate stories are here, but those exploring social or political connections are rare.

While reading To whom are we not afraid, We are fortunately well served. Already announced the cover color, which is the head of Luis-Joseph Papino. Back to the patriots … OK no. Or is it not …

This is because the author presents two protagonists.

Charles was a young Montreal typographer who followed in 1864 and 1865 as he prepared to form the Canadian Confederation. The project is of concern to Canadians (… French, we do not need to mention at the time), and was strongly opposed by Charles. But what can you do there at 19?

Secret meeting

Moving on for more than a century, Edward, in his twenties, was a loyal independent, but discouraged activist.

We are in 2012, the year of the Maple Spring. Oudouard is a freelance translator, not a student. It was the year the National Option was created, the Jean-Martin Assant party that revived Edward’s political interest.

By great luck in particular, he unknowingly saw a document linking him to a certain 19th-century Charles, who also kept it with him. This document refers to a secret meeting between Papino and the French Alexis de Toquiville and Gustav de Beaumont.

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In 1831, they visited American prisons on their way back to France – a voyage that led to his famous writings in Tockville. Democracy in America. But it was another mission to promote the Canadian revolt against the British, which was secretly entrusted to them.

If this is known, the federation will fall, Charles believes. If this is known, Quebec history will take another tangent‌, oudouard analytics.

All that remains is to find undeniable evidence of this meeting. This is the whole share of the novel!

We meet Wilfried Laurier, Louis-Michael Wigger and Bishop Bourget’s Joves in the 19th century; To walk between Justin Trudeau’s boxing fight against Algonquin Senator Patrick Brazio, the Casseroles concerts and the 2012 attack on Pauline Morois.

All of these fit seamlessly into the lives of the two heroes and it is hard to believe that this is fiction.

The author’s later word brings us back to earth: no plot or meeting between Tokville, Beaumont and Papino. But over 400 pages is what we started with!

It took Matthew Thomas eight years to complete this first novel. The conclusion is clear: let him return to work quickly!