Kamouraska, novel by Anne Hébert (1970), is a psychological gothic romance based on an actual murder committed in 1839 in the village of Kamouraska, Qué, by a female ancestor of the author. The action takes place in Elizabeth's mind on the night of her second husband's impending death, transmuting the facts surrounding an earlier crime of passion into a haunting study of internalized guilt and the search for freedom.
Attending Jérome Rolland's sickbed, she revisits in dream and memory her stifling childhood; her escape into an unhappy marriage to the squire of Kamouraska; an affair with Dr Nelson, with whom she plotted to kill her husband; her trial and acquittal; and her subsequent quest for respectability, leading to her second, equally stifling marriage. A fragmented juxtaposition of first- and third-person narration communicates Elizabeth's inner turmoil in an interior monologue with feminist overtones. Claude Jutra's film Kamouraska (1973) captures the poetic quality of Hébert's writing.