CanLit Challenge Book #11: Next Episode by Hubert Aquin
Filed under: 20th Century,CanLit Challenge — Ibis at 11:44 am on Saturday, May 6, 2006

Book 11, Next Episode (1965) – Hubert Aquin
From the back cover:
“First published in l965, Hubert Aquin’s Next Episode is a disturbing and yet deeply moving novel of dissent and distress. As he awaits trial, a young separatist writes an espionage story in the psychiatric ward of the Montreal prison where he has been detained. Sheila Fischman’s bold new translation captures the pulsating life of Aquin’s complex exploration of the political realities of contemporary Quebec. ”

Other useful links:
the Wikipedia article on Hubert Aquin
the Wikipedia article on Next Episode
CBC’s Canada Reads 2003
the Canada Reads reading guide for Next Episode

My thoughts:
I’m definitely going to have to read this one again. All the way through, I kept wishing that it was annotated, that I had a running commentary, that it included a map of Lausanne. I saw a French annotated copy at the bookstore when I picked this up, and I almost wish that I had taken it as well (though my French isn’t so good to begin with). I really liked the layered feeling, the disorientation that the reader is submerged within. In my Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, it says that two of Aquin’s literary influences were Joyce and Nabokov, and I really got that impression while I was reading this. I felt that I was just that much removed from their company.
I was also reading Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red at the same time as this, and there were echoes I felt between the two of those works as well (even though there is almost certainly no real connection between the two). The narrative of “I Will Be Called a Murderer” and the narrator of Next Episode were at one point (for me at least), oddly at one with each other.
I’m going to read this again, most likely after it comes back from its planned bookring, and make further notes as I read it.

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