I finished reading Arvida today, on the journey back from work. As my francophone readers know, it was written by my cousin, who is apparently planning an Arvida 2. Arvida is in fact a town, where my mother and his father were born and grew up. I spent many weekends there and family reunions. And today, as I was walking home in the heat of a spring day that is starting to feel suspiciously like summer, thinking about my the next book I would read, an Italian crime novel (translated in French), I just remembered an anecdote about Arvida.
It was during my time in Italy, I was spending the night at a friend's house in Bergamo (the town that gave me my Italian name and incidentally my favourite town in Italy). It was a large old house, where there was a large living room with old furniture, an old record player (I listened to Mozart I think) and an old, very old globe. I spent one morning there, it was late in August or early in September and it was very hot. I checked the globe out of curiosity, all those places in the world with Italian names. And I obviously checked Québec out of curiosity, and especially where I was from, the Saguenay region. There was no mention of Chicoutimi or Jonquière, even they were much bigger places. Especially Chicoutimi, which is actually a city, not merely a cathedral. But right at the center of my region, there was Arvida, marked with the same thick spot as Quebec City or Montreal, as if it was the center of Saguenay, or even of Québec. I found it very singular, that my friend had this terrestrial globe and that Arvida was literally on the map, that it existed for Italian eyes to see.