Rhapsody in Quebec

Born in Hungary in 1975, Akos Verboczy moved to Montreal, Quebec at the age of 11 with his sister and mother, an esthetician, who learned that in Canada women were willing to pay a fortune ($20) to have their leg hair brutally ripped out.

His story begins in Hungary, where at the age of nine he learned that he was a Jew too—”half-Jew” to be more accurate. Unlike some who emigrated from Eastern Europe, Verboczy has no particularly beefs about life “behind the iron curtain.” He lands in Montreal as James Brown’s Living in America plays and Rocky knocks the Russian communist boxer flat in Rocky IV. The good guys he had learned to like were now officially the bad guys. Once in “America” he discovers that he will be going to French school—after all it is Québec. But then he learns that Canada is the only “place on the planet where there’s no prestige in speaking French.”

In fifty vignettes and tales that belie all the clichés about immigration to Québec, he depicts the experience of embracing a culture and a people who are constantly obliged to reaffirm their right to exist. A keen young fencer, he identifies with Alexander Dumas’s d’Artagnan, the outsider who insists that his “heart is musketeer” though his dress is not.

At a time when identity politics are at the fore, Verboczy’s observations are both enlightening and witty, comforting and yet challenging, and humorous. He does not hesitate to discuss thorny political issues such as language laws, anti-Semitism, multiculturalism, values, Québec sovereignty, and more. Rhapsody in Quebec is an important contribution to public debate wherever immigration is an issue, be it Quebec, Canada, United States or on other continents.

Table des matières

Table des matières
Rhapsody in Quebec 1
CONTENTS 7
FOREWORD 9
WHERE I’M FROM 19
STEP ONE: START BY ARRIVING 25
WARTBURG BLUES 27
THE BOYS OF KÁRPÁT STREET 31
THE DREAMS OF MY MOTHER 34
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT 39
FAREWELL MY COUNTRY 43
LIVING IN AMERICA 47
BACK TO THE FUTURE 52
THE LANGUAGES WE ARE 56
AN AMERICAN EPIC 60
FOR BETTER AND FOR WORSE 64
MR. NICOLAS’S CLASS 67
THE TRIAL 70
“NIGGER BLACK” 72
THE HALF-JEW 78
WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES… 82
THE MAN WHO FAILED 85
STEP TWO: FIND YOUR WAY 89
EVERYONE NEEDS A SOUL MATE 91
GOD, WOODY ALLEN AND ME 96
THE GAZETTE 100
FRENCHEMENT BETTER! 103
THE ENIGMA OF THE RETURN 108
THE MUSKETEERS 112
ON QUEEN MARY 117
THE NOT-SO-NICE DANCE 120
1990 124
THE “QUÉBÉCOIS” 128
MADAGASCAR POWER 133
THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ 137
SNEEDRONNINGEN 143
HUNGARIAN RHAPSODIES 146
STEP THREE: ARRIVE AT THE BEGINNING 151
THE LIFE BEFORE US 153
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DEPUTY RETURNING OFFICER 157
THE WORDS OF A MAN OF HIS WORD 162
MONEY AND ETHNIC VOTES 167
THE TIME OF THE BUFFOONS 175
THE HUMAN ZOO 181
LAND OF OTHERS 186
MULTICULTURALIZATION 190
THE PERFECT FOREIGNER 193
MONTREAL TANGO 197
NOUS 202
RUSALKA 206
THE SHIT RAINS DOWN ON MY HEAD 211
THE GRAND SEDUCTION 217
THE BANALITY OF EVIL 223
MON PAYS (MY COUNTRY) 229
WHERE ARE WE HEADED? 234