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This book really surprised me I feel like not a lot happens, and a lot of the characters aren t very likeable, but I really liked this book The language is incredibly artful, and I found myself just underlining random sections of the page that struck me as being particularly beautiful The depiction of the poor was very heart wrenching and combined with some of the sentimental family love stuff and the french flavour of Montreal, makes this book feel like a Canadian version of Les Miserables my favourite book The early WWII atmosphere with the recruitment efforts and characters leaving to join the army does a great job of affecting my emotions as I read it It s just the tragedy of war, mixed with the thrill of adventure, the sense of duty, and the need for money by any means really combine to make a good emotional cocktail in a story that already does a good job of touching emotions.As far as characters go, I wasn t a big fan of Florentine or Jean I found both of them to be irritating and frustrating characters though they were certainly well drawn by the author I did like Emmanuel a lot and also Rose Anna and Azarius quite a bit Rose Anna is such a tragic figure a very poor mother of 12 children with a husband who won t work and I found her to be my biggest connection throughout the story But even though she was suffering because of Azarius lazy ways, it was hard to hate him because it made sense why he was lazy and poor One of the tragic lines in the story comes from the description of Azarius by Florentine towards the end of the story where she says he just never had good luck It isn t that Azarius never tried, or that his decisions were particularly bad it s just he had terrible timing and nothing really quite worked out This book is really excellent for a lot of reasons but I have one major complaint which prevents it from being a 5 star book I like a book with a driving plot Les Miserables definitely had long sections of melancholic emotions and overdone character development, but things in that book were constantly moving forward In The TIn Flute, you could read 100 pages and nothing has really happened except for a conversation or two inside of a restaurant I still liked it alot and would definitely recommend it to a certain type of reader, but I know I would ve liked it with a stronger plot. Gabrielle Roy has marvelous powers of description that make winter wind, snow, cold and choking city smoke descend and engulf the reader as well as her fictional characters Just as invasive are her powers of discernment which take the reader right inside the thoughts and desperation of a family caught inside the slums of Montreal during the depression that preceded world war two This is a Canadian classic, one of the finest books ever written However, don t expect to lift your head from its last page feeling any optimistic about life than you did before. This is a book that got stronger as I read further into it The novel takes place right at the end of the depression and the beginning of WWII The LaCosse family at the center of the novel has gotten poorer as the years and the children added up It was this poverty that that prevailed.She was brooding over the fact that poverty is like a pain, dormant and not unbearable as long as you don t move about too much You grow used to it, you end up by paying no attention to it But once you presume to bring it out in the daylight, it becomes terrifying, you see it at last in all its squalor and you shrink from exposing it to the sun.I might have wanted from the prose, and I was tempted to blame the translator Then I remembered that I m not likely to give the translator credit when I do like the prose, so maybe I should treat them fairly I might have wanted a bit in terms of characterization, but those became clearer as I got deeper into the novel I never really felt comfortable, never felt connected to the characters or invested in the future that was being revealed Still, I couldn t put it down for the last 50 pages I needed to know how all of the issues were resolved I wanted to like it , but it s just a strong 3 stars for me. Oh, so readable, so heartbreaking, so thought provoking.What is the consequences of destitution on a family How does it affect one s psyche The author of this book shows the devastating affects of poverty on one family., but the author does it in a loving way I read this book through many tears.Another theme is war Why do the poor fight It can t for loyalty to the country who has crushed their dreams in the past Who benefits from war Is it the soldiers or is the ones who stay home and make money The book was originally written in French, but my translation is so good, that I found it hard to believe it wasn t written in English Highly recommended. I am of two poles like Gabrielle Roy Winnipeg born, with everything we needed but our parents struggled I encountered one distant resemblance to the Lacasses ofThe Tin Flute , the most destitute family about whom I ve read Not hitting the right career and financial plan in the beginning, was like a tire that kept puncturing, a black hole Throw money at the Lacasses and it got sucked up One of the reasons this award winning d but receives three stars from me, is disbelief that the Father and children did not earn money somehow A catholic place like Montr al in 1945 was ripe for babysitting The Mother worked but was too often pregnant That she was run ragged at home, I don t accept No kids did dishes, cleaned, or cooked She wouldn t ask her Mother or brothers for help The other reason for moderately grading an admirable, complex literary coup is that we never like the eldest daughter, Florentine Gabrielle gives voice to everyone s thoughts, even the awful Jean L vesque, whom Florentine asininely wanted to impress because he wasn t a lover s type When a story solidifies, after a few chapters of snapshots, she and her Mother are the protagonists We loathe her sons Eug ne and Phillip and Emmanuel would be an adorable beau, if he wasn t as stupid about love as Florentine, in his own way He becomes her husband, even though his friend, Jean attracted her by being the first to kiss her We want Florentine to wizen up, whom we admire as her family s sole breadwinner WWII sees the poorest still reeling from the 1930s Going to war in aid of England in France, well before Americans, provided jobs and family allowance cheques.The most poignant example of a negative being a boon is Daniel in a hospital His Mother saw him with colouring books, blocks, and a tin flute he wanted thinly matched English title of Bonheur D Occasion He received in one day, toys than he ever had Imagine a hospital being superior to a home life In their rental homes, one or two kids had rooms, everyone else slept on cots, stowed by day I forgive Florentine vanity about how she appears and dresses, after doing without I was too young to remember this film, shown in my French school It abounds in great discussion fodder, grasped best by adults I only recalled that it was grim and dreaded reading it all these years I am happy to discover that it is a highly readable story, that carries you along, outside of unlikeable characters It concludes with hope, growth, and improvement However the original title s meaning is apt, for a book that isn t about music It means occasional happiness. This book is an important fictionalized version of herstory that sadly reflects many of the same issues we have in society today. I should rather pull a toe off than read this book again It s no than a catalogue of misery without redemption, and while it may be realistic, it s nothing I need to be told about in careful detail I had feared that this was an artifact of translation, but apparently it can move people the same way in the original language I finish with the perfect summation from this review Livre obligatoire l cole C est suppos ment un classique mais j ai trouv a atrocement plate. Haha this book took me two months to read Why Because it s terrible Originally titled Bonheur d occasion trans Second hand Happiness , The Tin Flute is the vivid story of the working poor in Quebec during World War II The story begins with the eldest daughter, Florentine, who works in the Five and Ten in order to help support her parents She falls for a machinist, Jean, who agrees to date her merely to benefit himself His friend, Emmanuel, in the meantime, falls for Florentine who has eyes only for Jean As the Afterword Philip Stratford mentions, Florentine was Gabrielle Roy s first and foremost character for the story, but Florentine s mother Rose Anna pushed her way into the story and was there to stay Lucky for us, the readers, as Rose Anna is truly the heart and soul of the entire story There would be no Florentine without Rose Anna, nor would Florentine s many siblings exist Mother holds the story together She is the glue.The story is told from the perspectives of the different characters, and because of this the reader walks away feeling a little bruised around the edges Not since Steinbeck s The Grapes of Wrath have I finished a book feeling like I ve just suffered with an entire family Like Steinbeck did for the American literary landscape of the Great Depression, so does Gabrielle Roy for the Canadian slums of Montreal of World War II The characters could be real people, with real reactions and real hopes and real fears The situations, though perhaps dated at times, are not too far removed from the ones imagined by most contemporary readers.Wonderful story, deserving of its place on the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die list But if a happy ending is ones goal for picking up this book, you will be sorely disappointed Life isn t always a bushel of cherries. ^KINDLE ↮ Bonheur D'occasion ⇨ The Tin Flute, Gabrielle Roy S First Novel, Is A Classic Of Canadian Fiction Imbued With Roy S Unique Brand Of Compassion And Compelling Understanding, This Moving Story Focuses On A Family In The Saint Henri Slums Of Montreal, Its Struggles To Overcome Poverty And Ignorance, And Its Search For LoveAn Affecting Story Of Familial Tenderness, Sacrifice, And Survival During The Second World War The Novel Was Made Into A Critically Acclaimed Motion Picture In From The Hardcover Edition