Hubert Aquin, translated by Sheila Fischman
A disturbing yet affecting story of political dissent and emotional turmoil, Hubert Aquin's revolutionary novel was first published in 1965 in French and is now considered a classic of Canadian literature. A young separatist is being held for trial in the psychiatric ward of a Montreal prison. To pass the time, he decides to write a spy thriller that features a Québecois terrorist on a murderous mission. Heavily symbolic and intense, Next Episode is steeped in the social and political realities of 1960s Quebec.
Next Episode was the winner of Canada Reads 2003. It was defended by Denise Bombardier.
Cuba is sinking in flames in the middle of Lac Léman while I descend to the bottom of things. Packed inside my sentences, I glide, a ghost, into the river's neurotic waters, discovering as I drift the underside of surfaces and the inverted image of the Alps. Between the anniversary of the Cuban revolution and the date of my trial, I have time enough to ramble on in peace, to open my unpublished book with great care, and to cover this paper with the key-words that won't set me free. I'm writing on a card table next to a window looking out on grounds enclosed by a sharp iron fence that marks the boundary between what's unpredictable and what is locked up. I won't get out before the day of reckoning. That's written in several carbon copies as decreed, following valid laws and an unassailable royal judge. There are no distractions then, nothing to replace the clockwork of my obsession or make me deviate from the written record of my journey. Basically, only one thing really concerns me and it's this: how should I set about writing a spy novel?
From Next Episode by Hubert Aquin, translated by by Sheila Fischman ©2001. Published by New Canadian Library.