Fast Track by Pierre Turgeon

About the Book

Accelerate Cogito, 2020

Seven notebooks kept between 1968 and 1991, in which Pierre Turgeon explores his relationship to writing and the absolute reality. Seven collected notebooks that go beyond the anecdote and the state of mind to take us, with the author, behind the scenes and beneath the scenes of the act of writing, into the identity of a writer-novelist-journalist, screenwriter-publisher. Pierre Turgeon from the inside: the secret universe of his psyche, where fantasy and dream rub shoulders with freedom, dark and bright corners: places of creation, the space of the inner gaze, in Greece, Paris, Mexico, Berlin, Montreal, Philadelphia. With each word, Turgeon plunges into the known and the unknown that defines him and that he explores through the writing of this dive.


Literary Essay
by Pierre Turgeon

English Version Coming Soon

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My country is a huge ice rink where feet freeze in the fall and remain frozen until the following spring.

I walk in the corridors of Western thought. I am a turtle that carries its books under its shell. I am not made for the truth. Nor am I made for thought.
I don’t want to own anything anymore. I will be satisfied with a library card. I will eat brown rice. I will travel only by dream. I’ll go into Plato’s great cave. Wait for the cold of the glaciers to immobilize me as a totem pole. Not to move anymore. Oh yes! To suffer no more!

One must lose oneself in illusion to delay the scavenging birds that stand on the telegraphic wires of consciousness. The gold of the Rhine gives me stones to the bladder. The moon in its last crescent baits the predatory black star that will swallow us all.

The straight-line twists and breaks as soon as we try to justify ourselves. The world is the totality of our acts. There will never be anything else. I listen to the sails flapping in the harbor, the waves lapping on the worm-eaten hulls. I smoke cigars and drink planters’ punches.

I no longer have the strength to go on. I had money, on credit; power over others, none over myself. I would just like a little love without the war.
Nightmares: syphilis has made me dumb: to earn some money, I clown around on the sidewalks. I throw my son out of a tenth-floor window. I find myself at my parents’ house where I am understood and loved.

Beautiful dreams: I become invisible, or woman, at will. I remain alone on earth. I no longer wake up. There is nothing after death.
The only true and strong element: family. I couldn’t make my family unhappy. This is the limit of my mystical experiences, of my attempts at suicide or escape. Is it love? Is it fear? I could never make my wife or children cry. My darkest thoughts will not bring me there. I belong more to my family than to my business, than to my despair. I find there my absolute, at least in terms of action. Moral as well. Deep down, my relatives would do without me admirably. They don’t seem to have suffered from my many travels.

In Mexico City, I climb to the last step of a dark staircase and sit atop a windowless skyscraper, knowing that I dominate a landscape of mountains and forests that remain unassailable behind stone walls. Why on earth build a tower without loopholes, without openings?

The rain, coming from the north, spreads over the dreary, damp day. The curtain is moving, dirty, and frayed. The hangars of the Frankfurt Book Fair stand in disorder in the middle of the huge parking lot. Cooking smoke is already rising from the barbecues of the sausage and beer stands. Summer is coming to an end. It’s raining ink. Sitting in my rented Ford in front of the Halle Fünf, which houses the foreign publishers, I watch the rain. For the time being, I am enjoying a moment of amazement. My triangular face, with delicate features, expresses no emotion.

It seems to me that the dogs are barking to expel the soot from their lungs. They pull on their leash held by policemen in pale green uniforms. On the windy side, the windshield is streaked with water and, through the drops, everything is distorted, while the view is still clear from the parking lot. A stocky, grayish man in his late sixties gets out of a BMW and sways towards it. I climb up the collar of my raincoat, tie my scarf and swallow a sip of Pepto-Bismol. Suddenly I swear between my teeth that my banker might call my line of credit back.

I can’t take it anymore, I had been very patient, suddenly the pieces come off, the assembly is destroyed, there is no reason to believe in a future solution. I feel like crying, disappearing, no longer lying, no longer delirious. In the big sky, birds fly, not here, in my head. Like Zénon d’Élée, I have concluded that it is impossible to make any real movement, which makes me tremble with horror. Unable to entertain myself, I have no choice but to feel the debts gnawing at me. Open ice cream on the covered parking lot of exhibitors.

My thoughts are a series of minute tortures that I inflict on myself. Despair on the edge of my abdomen, sweaty hands, and a stinging throat, my body in Montreal time, but with my ass on a chair at my booth in Frankfurt, I close my eyelids on my contact lenses. When I had money, I didn’t need to think. Except that I did it anyway. Which was ruining my life.

I don’t know anything anymore, not even though I’m human. I’m not sure if I have a father and a mother, that people exist when I’m no longer there to watch them, or that I’m going to disappear after I die. I prostrate myself before my own name, which is my mark. My nose is bleeding. I miss my bank transfer as much as the junkie’s heroin fix. It’s dawn in Frankfurt. I’m waiting for my creditors. I’d like to be dropped off. I would like to become a man without business.

Read in Kundera a presentation of small national literature in which his entomologist’s mind describes the situation of Quebec literature marvelously. He speaks of the absence of frankly bad writers, of the need for each one to defend his share of literary history even if he does not know it, nor does he love it.

This analysis should be taught to all students of Quebec literature. The classrooms would empty.
The ease with which I understand the texts I read is an excellent way to measure my level of disruption and stress. The less I read, the more disturbed I am. I even become completely stupid, unable to read a line. In those moments, I have to write or run.

In the hollow of the ear, between saliva and wax, in meandering waterspouts, there is nothing to hear: in the back of the throat, between swallowing and breathing, there is nothing to say. And behind the eye, there is nothing to see. Usually, I try to stand there, before everything happens and spoils. There’s no escape from it: I have to go out, to eat, drink and talk. And then, when I want to come back, I find myself locked out. Exiled from my senses, expelled from my skin. So I take the opportunity to reprogram the robot. I erase magnetic files, change some memory addresses, restart feeling subroutines and try to increase the speed of execution. I improve the model.

At the end of the exhalation, we find the inspiration. A matter of breath, it has always been said. The neck comes from the abdomen. You decide with your navel.
I want to know my true coordinates between Sirius and the Sun, between the Big Bang and the terminal black hole. I cannot go anywhere else but here, which makes me tremble with horror. Unable to entertain myself, I have no choice but to listen to the worms gnawing at me. The last word, no one says it, it goes on like this without respite, for no reason, without needing to be named, explained, understood. Because the instructions form an infinite loop, that the neurons sparkle as many times as the stars in the brain. The orgasmic dungeons of birth-death swallow us greedily without us ever finding even one billionth of a cubic centimeter that belongs to us. All seen, all known. Every woman’s face, every possible form of my experience. Human beings seem childish. The only novelty that remains: death would bring it I put my watch on the desk. I give myself an hour to find myself, here, in this room overlooking the beach of Fort Lauderdale. I could be in Venice, Rome, Paris, Montreal, it would be the same Holiday Inn setting, except for the view from the window. The mirror looks like one of those fourth-dimensional traps where Kryptonians lock up their criminals; I see my face in it: green eyes, black hair graying at the temples. My mother used to tell me not to play outside. What about inside? Nothing prepared me to defend myself against the one who appears in the mirror, who smiles, and who, as soon as I turn my back, uncovers his canines and takes off his mask.
Death is only a lack of speech

When God’s spirit hovered over the waters, they already smelled bad. One can flush it away and take it all into the sewers of the world before it was created.
I devour my body from the inside. I leave it empty of its substance.


Born in Quebec, October 9, 1947 – The novelist and essayist Pierre Turgeon obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1967. In 1969, at the age of twenty-two, already a journalist at Perspectives and literary critic at Radio-Canada, Pierre Turgeon creates the literary review L’Illettré with Victor-Lévy Beaulieu. The same year, he published his first novel, Sweet Poison. Several works followed 22 titles in total: novels, essays, plays, film scripts, and historical works. These include The First Person and The Radissonia, both of which win the Governor General’s Award for novel and essay respectively.

In 1975, he founded the Quinze publishing house, which he chaired until 1978. There he published numerous authors, including Marie-Claire Blais, Gérard Bessette, Jacques Godbout, Yves Thériault, Jacques Hébert, and Hubert Aquin, before becoming deputy director of the Presses of the University of Montreal (PUM) in 1978. Then, from 1979 to 1982, he directed the editions of the Sogides group, the most important French-language publisher in America. (Les Éditions de l’Homme, Le Jour, Les Quinze). He also publishes software, launching one of the first French text editors (Ultratexte) and the first French spell-checking program (Hugo). Editor-in-chief of the literary review Liberté from 1987 to 1998, he edited controversial issues on the October Crisis and the Oka Crisis, as well as on various political and cultural subjects.

In 1999, he created Trait d’union, a publishing house devoted to poetry, essays, and celebrity biographies, works signed among others by René Lévesque, Pierre Godin, Micheline Lachance, Margaret Atwood. He is the only Canadian publisher to have seen one of his books, a biography of Michael Jackson : Unmasked, reach number one on the New York Times bestseller list. In the meantime, the author continues to be prolific, and in 2000, he published a history of Canada, in collaboration with Don Gilmor, that won the Ex-Libris prize, awarded by the Association of Canadian Booksellers with the mention of Best History of Canada to date.

Today, he is working on the creation of a publishing site entirely devoted to the distribution of English and French eBooks: Cogito, which will go live in early 2021.

How, why is one a writer? Pierre Turgeon’s answer is quite simple: one writes to participate in the “communion of saints that a library constitutes” and because one wants to have “a place, after one’s death, among the dead”. Pierre Turgeon writes very well, without any pretension, with a very endearing mocking side. An elegant book, dandy, policed. – Jean Basile, Le Devoir.