I think Montrealers should take the time to read this book. It is a well written, well wrought tale that grabs your attention and does not let go. Furthermore, it may help you to better understand your neighbors which is one of the highest purposes of art.
Black Alley. Mauricio Segura. In the Argo catalog.
This book was controversial when it first came out in french. Segura was born in Chile and moved to Montreal and so he knows a thing or two about the immigrant experience here. In this book he writes about two boys that form a very important bond at a young age. Like to star crossed lovers they have a problem, one is Haitian and the other Chilean. As the events unfold a dramatic tale takes places. It is sensitive and touching and entirely worth reading.
I knew from the first pages this was a bookÂ I would finish. Segura uses an interesting technique in the book. He reveals the story in different times, so as a reader you follow twin tales. One involves kids in elementary school preparing for a big race and dealing with life in a poor recent-immigrant filled community. The other followsÂ kids in high school caught in a gang war based on racial issues. Over the course of the book you come to see how everyone is related and the narrative unravels beautifully.
The novel raises questions about integration, the role of diffrent authorities in the process andÂ the role sports can play.Â Not being an immigrant I am poorly authorized to speak of their experience, but this book has many scenes reminded me of my youth, which suggests the relevance of the book to many people that grew up in Quebec and more importantly, the book felt very real.