Autoportrait d’une autre
280 pages | 29 août 2023 | Couverture : © Paul Cupido
A writer delves into the life of her aunt, who embodied creativity, adventure, beauty, and madness but died tragically in 1986. Denise Brosseau, whose married names and aliases included Denise Brossot, Denise Sorel, Denise Jodorowsky, and Denise Garcia Ponce, moved to Paris at age eighteen to study mime, then later to Mexico, where she turned to philosophy. Despite a life dedicated to art and ideas, she is little remembered today, while her husbands (the first a filmmaker, the second a painter), male friends, and lovers have left their mark on history. Denise was their muse, a woman silenced by her beauty, by the love she inspired, by her era.
Through Denise’s correspondence with poet Gaston Miron, the works of art of her friends, and conversations with her aunt’s loved ones, Élise Turcotte paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of a woman who was extraordinarily alive but stifled by her position in life. Throughout this journey, the author reveals much about herself, probes the legacy Denise left her, and questions her own relationship to art, freedom, madness, and death. In the same vein as Deborah Levy’s living autobiographies and the lives reimagined by Lola Lafon in The Little Communist Who Never Smiled and Marie Darrieussecq in Être ici est une splendeur, Élise Turcotte has written a poignant, erudite, and stunning book, a true “self-portrait of someone else.”
” A “cathedral of questions” – about madness, shame, the concept of the muse, and artistic creation – is doubled here with an ethical, personal, and literary query. How to portray someone else’s existence? Is it shameless to talk about oneself? What shape to give to a literary investigation?»
“Under Turcotte’s pen, every empty space and silence left within her aunt story is taking life.”
“Setting out in search of her late aunt, the author offers a unique story, between a novel and an investigation, where she explores art, madness, exile, and death.”