A very nice surprise that this first collection of short stories signed by Alec Serra-Wagneur.
He became known as an actor on the boards (Hiver, Théâtre Prospero), and his text L’buryement had been selected for the Prix de la nouvelle de Radio-Canada, in 2020. But Le silence des braises is the first incursion official recognition of the young author in the literary world, and it is clear that this is a very convincing and promising effort.
Writing short stories is an art in itself and Serra-Wagneur knows how to capture places, characters and atmospheres in a few lines. He leads us each time into intimate stories with finely controlled dramatic rises. His skilful pen knows how to paint without falling into the hyperbole of magnificent landscapes and panoramas, from Jamésie to Haute-Mauricie via the wild Warren Island, off Maine, or Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park, in British Columbia. .
The metaphor of the embers, this burning fire that sleeps, sometimes almost extinguished, but not dead, is the common thread of these stories. They all present characters who carry within them a fault, a loneliness, a malaise, in an intimate relationship with nature, and more particularly with the forest, omnipresent and central character, in the end, of this collection – we isn’t surprised to read in the author’s bio that he’s hiked the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota and the Long Trail in Vermont, among others.
Nature-refuge, where one comes to isolate oneself from the stupidity of men and the madness of the world; the nature-sanctuary, where one comes to heal deep wounds and, perhaps, manage to heal them; nature-adventure, where man measures himself against the strength of the elements, in survival mode, and goes to the end of himself to better find himself (or lose himself); wild, impetuous, sometimes dangerous nature, which will swallow those who are not careful. Under the canopy, this sleeping fire will be able to find the air to start pulsing and burning again, like a heart emerging from a long hibernation.
“When you have found in the woods this ancient thing that lives in you […] you will have understood how to stir up the embers that crackle in the back of your head. “With great sensitivity.