Monday, October 12, 2015

Got to: "Tom at the Farm" Michel Marc Bouchard

Got to: Tom at the Farm, Michel Marc Bouchard, translation by Linda Gaboriau, 2011 play, 2013 translation, 9780889227590.

I just mentioned to someone that I ordered this for the library thinking it was a novel. Nope, it's a play. I read the book anyway. Written in French by a Quebecois and had a film version released in 2013. I have not seen the film version. The film was panned by a couple things I read. Apparently the film director is a precocious dude and was too self-indulgent with the movie.

The play is arty. Tom will speak directly to other characters but is thinking out loud, "The lines that Tom addressees to himself or his deceased lover should not be played like the traditional direct asides to the audience. Tom should instead deliver these lines in ongoing interaction with the other characters." Maybe this plays better on stage because I had difficulty visualizing things. 

I was interested in the book because I thought it was a crime/horror story. Young man Tom visit's his dead boyfriend's farming family. The family did not know the dead son was gay and Tom was unknown. Tom stays a few days and things get dark and brutal. Things do get brutal but this is gay-bashing and hidden identities.

Tom is a handsome, stylish, office worker.  When Tom's nameless boyfriend dies in a traffic collision Tom visits the family farm in Northern Quebec for the funeral. Dead Boyfriend never spoke much about his family. Dead Boyfriend got out of No-Gays-Around-Here, Quebec as a young man. Part of Dead Boyfriend's departure was the brutal older brother, Francis.

Things happen.  Francis wants to keep his mother, Agatha, happy and that happiness involves keeping secrets secret. Francis knows Tom's true relationship with Dead Boyfriend but threatens Tom into pretending to be a pal.  Agatha is oblivious to the true nature of both sons. Francis seems to have repressed his own gayness with violence and booze. Tom stays at the farm, works the dairy cows, and is oddly taken in as a new son. Dead Boyfriend's fake girlfriend shows up after Francis (Tom?) asked her to drive up. Tom learns how Dead Boyfriend's first boyfriend was attacked and mutilated by Francis. Francis takes up with Dead girlfriend. Tom murders Francis in the corn field.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I wonder if you confused it with THE FARM by Tom Robb Smith.

Gerard Saylor said...

Actually, I had the exact same mistake with THE FARM. I expected Smith's novel to have a nasty conspiracy and rural crime lords. THE FARM kinda did but it was all in her head.