Gordon Sheppard

Writer, Photographer, Filmmaker

“You gave the country a new form” – John Porter, writer and critic

When you gave Canada HA! you gave the coutry a new form.

Gordon Sheppard’s HA! is the most unusual work of literature that I have ever read. Its exhaustive treatment of the celebrated French-Canadian writer Hubert Aquin—his life, his politics, his writing, his loves, his relationships, his handwriting, his face, his eyes, his car, his city, his suicide note—brings a human life into unparalleled fullness. Aesthetically, HA! is a beautiful and pleasing object. The Rothko-like cover, the photographs, the document-inserts, the newspaper excerpts, the bulk (almost 900 pages), the drawings, the interviews, the typographical fonts, the handwritten letters make it an object with a large presence. Artistically, HA! for all its thoroughness in investigating the nature, the literary history and motive of suicide, is a work of profound mystery. It shows as much as it tells; it performs, plays, probes, dissects; it conducts an autopsy on stage, but it leaves the body intact. Novel, film script, play, musical score, documentary, HA! entrances by its strangeness, charms by its details and evades critical capture by moving within the paradox that to know almost all about one human person is not to know everything. HA! raises a dead man and makes him live again.

– John Porter, writer and critic