I was waiting for him to drink his espresso. I introduced myself outside. At first he didn't answer, then he got angry and said I should go through his lawyer. I said, "I tried, but he didn't return any messages or calls."
Finally he started talking. He might have thought, "Why doesn't my lawyer defend me?"
And he was glad that someone had read his work. I could say, "Well, in this book you said …" That made him talk a lot.
How much of his work did you end up reading?
He wrote almost 50 books and I read about a dozen. None of them have been translated into English, but I grew up in Montreal and attended French schools. And two colleagues in the office read books that I hadn't read. Many were no longer in circulation.
So one of my colleagues spent days in the library scanning books and diaries from the 70s and 80s, and then we printed out the scans.
] How was he personal?
His reputation has always been that he is extremely charming, and he was. He is 83, but he speaks perfectly in elegant, complete sentences.
Was that what protected him?
I think that's partly it. And people thought he was a good writer. I don't think a worker would get away with what he did.
That was it for this briefing. Until next time.
Thank you very much
Mark Josephson and Kathleen Massara provided the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the editor of Briefings, wrote today's background story. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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