Gordon Sheppard HA!: A Self-Murder Mystery

ISBN 13: 9780773531000

HA!: A Self-Murder Mystery

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9780773531000: HA!: A Self-Murder Mystery
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On 15 March 1977, with his wife's consent, celebrated writer and former terrorist Hubert Aquin blew his brains out on the grounds of a Montreal convent school. Shocked by this self-murder, a filmmaker friend feels compelled to understand why Aquin killed himself - and discovers, at the heart of the tragedy, an unforgettable love story. A "documentary fiction" - a category which includes In Cold Blood and The Executioner's Song - HA! is a seminal work that reinvents the audio-visual revolution of the last century. Interweaving photographs, documents, and images with testimony from Aquin's friends and contemporaries, Aquin himself, and the writers and artists who influenced him, this intriguing novel takes the reader on a Joycean tour of a metropolis in the midst of political and cultural turmoil.

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About the Author:

Gordon Sheppard (1937-2006) was a Montreal writer, photographer, and award-winning filmmaker who wrote and directed The Most, a documentary about Playboy's Hugh Hefner, and Eliza's Horoscope, a feature film starring Tommy Lee Jones.

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Hubert Aquin's suicide note to his wife Andree Yanacopoulo
[written in blue ink on lined yellow notepad paper]
March 16, 1977

Love,

When I telephoned you from Rome and asked you to marry me 21 or 22 days ago, I turned towards you with all my might and since then we have found each other once again in joy and in love. For me, it is the coronation of these eleven years of life together: The coronation, yes!, for now it is the end: I'm too broken to wish to go on living, too destroyed, too overwhelmed. I cracked en route a few months ago, as you know, but I cannot recover from this fracture. The slide has been uninterrupted; and at the same time that I was growing depressed I was a witness, to our life together; which had become very fragile, without it occurring to me to participate in it. Between us, there was a pact; each of us is master of his life and, provided there's an advance notice of 24 or 48 hours, each is free to commit suicide without the other obstructing this choice. I thank you for respecting this agreement. To Emmanuel, you can say that I cracked, and that I ceased to wish to live; to all my friends as well. There s no shame in being beaten, battered and recognizing it. I have lacked strength at the last moment, I have lacked logic (as you say). But that can only be explicable, in the last resort, as a desire to deliberately enter into death. The God that I prayed to in my childhood, and have found again very much later, must surely pardon suicides. You, you pardon me. .. Know that you are, that you have been, the absolute companion - she who has accompanied me to the threshold of the absolute. I would like Emmanuel to pray to God to give him all the energy and all the will-power he might need to wish to go on living, to continue, to never say die. I find him very much more robust than I was at his age and I would like him to continue developing to his full potential.

You will say goodbye to Christian, and Claude, and Michelle for me. You will tell them especially that in committing suicide I'm not separating myself from you. I remain, united with you not in death but above and beyond life. I am not separating myself from you; may Emmanuel know that too. He will surely understand... I kiss you, I kiss you, I kiss you infinitely. Be happy. Do not forget that Emmanuel will be that much happier if his mother is radiant, blooming. Of course, I am not going so far as to think you will become radiant while reading this letter: But I have confidence in you, in Emmanuel, and, however paradoxical it may seem, in the future.

Your love and your husband,
Hubert

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