Hubert Aquin: Trou de mémoire (Blackout)


The latest addition to my website is Hubert Aquin‘s Trou de mémoire (Blackout). This is the story of two men who have a few things in common. Pierre X Magnant and Olympe Ghezzo-Quénum are both political revolutionaries, both pharmacists and are both having an affair with a (different) English woman, who happen to be sisters, though, by the time the novel starts, Magnant has just murdered his lover, Joan. Magnant is Canadian while Ghezzo-Quénum is Ivorian. Their paths intertwine, initially because Ghezzo-Quénum contacts Magnant about his revolutionary activities but later because Magnant seems to pursue the surviving sister, Rachel. While initially it seems to be a straightforward tale of psychopathy, it turns out to be more complicated than that as we learn that the various narrators are almost certainly unreliable, with even Magnant’s confession of murdering Joan suspect. Relatively few French Canadian novels are translated into English but this one has been though is sadly quite difficult to obtain in English translation.

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