"Chicoutimi is an Amerindian word
it means up to where the water is deep
this word refers to the Saguenay
a big a beautiful a splendid river
but Chicoutimi as a town is ugly
as every American town
and this ugliness is very interesting
but fortunately nature surrounds every town
in this country
and nature cannot be ugly"
Larry Tremblay, The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi
I have quoted Larry Tremblay before, this very quote in fact, but it fits the topic of this post. I am in Chicoutimi, where I grew up, where indeed I spent the first 20 years of my life or so. I had a glimpse of the Saguenay, this beautiful, splendid river, and a lot of the ugliness of the town. It didn't change much. I can say that Chicoutimi is ugly without being considered a traitor, I hope, as this ugliness has now been immortalised in a major play. And because ugliness can be interesting.
I always come back here with an uneasy feeling. Chicoutimi, as I mentioned here in French, has a fitting name: it is deep, far away from everywhere, surrounded by forest and nature, the Saguenay river with its deep, deep water, and it affected our psyche: we are as insular as English people, if not more. I wonder if being an expat does not mean, also, becoming a foreigner. I will come back to it in the next days.
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