Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Trevor Cole

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The Proust Questionnaire, with Trevor Cole

In addition to the newly released Practical Jean (McClelland & Stewart), Trevor Cole has written two acclaimed novels, Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life and The Fearsome Particles, both of which were shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and long-listed for the Dublin IMPAC Award. Trevor is also an award-winning magazine journalist. Visit him at

Catch Trevor Cole this week at the IFOA! Join him in at the Writers as Witness round-table discussion on Thursday, Oct. 21, and hear him read from his work on Sunday, Oct. 24. See our Events page for more details.

In his answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Trevor reveals the link between his chief characteristic and his principal fault.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.


What is your dream of happiness?
Digging my toes into the sand of an oceanfront home surrounded by friends sharing my good fortune.

What is your idea of misery?
A life with no time for art.

Where would you like to live?
Where my arrival is anticipated with pleasure.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Compassion, reliability, good humour and a firm handshake.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Wisdom, warmth, sparkling eyes and a sly grin.

What is your chief characteristic?
My general desire to do the right thing.

What is your principal fault?
My too frequent inability to do it.

What is your greatest extravagance?
The time I allow myself to read.

What do you value most about your friends?
Their understanding.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?

What is your favourite virtue?

What would you like to be?

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Proulx, Franzen, McEwan, Ford.

Who are your heroes in real life?
The afflicted who carry on as if they aren’t.

Who is your favourite musician?
I still have a soft spot for Freddie Mercury. Among the living, I’d say Ben Folds.

What is your favourite food?
Lobster tail dipped in garlic butter.

What is your favourite drink?
A red wine I can’t afford.

What is it you most dislike?
Suffering. Mine particularly.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?

How do you want to die?

What is your current state of mind?

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Overcoming my father’s example.


For more information about Practical Jean, please visit the McClelland & Stewart website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


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