History of Violence by Edouard Louis

History of Violence by Edouard Louis

French Auto Fiction

Original title – Histoire de la violence

Translator – Lorin Stein

Source – personal copy

As I said on my last post this book links in with the previous book I reviewed Black Box by Shiori Ito this book is the account of Edouard Louis when he was rapped. He is a writer I have read before I read his debut novel The end of Eddy like this book was a work of AUTO FICTION HE IS THE HEIR TO A WRITER LIKE Anne Ernaux he is able to write about his life in a way that it lingers long with you as a reader after you have put the book down. He is a fan of Faulkner even in the middle of the book he pulls up the parallel between his experience and that of Temple drake in Sanctuary.

I showed up at her house four days ago. I’d told myself, naively, that time in the country was what I needed in order to get over the weariness and passivity that had consumed my life, but no sooner had I walked through the door, thrown my bag down on the bed, and opened the bedroom window, with its view of the woods and the factory in the next village, than I knew it was a mistake and that I’d go home feeling even worse than before, even more, depressed by my own inertia.

When he shows up at his sister after the event of that night.

The book follows the events leading up to during and after a rape that happened to Edouard Louis, it is told in a non-linear order as the events after the rape form the early part of the book. as Edouard tries to piece together the events of that night. He makes his way to his sister and he recounts to her the events of the night that lead up to the Rape. Burt when his sister then tells her husband the story her brother told her. She recounts the narrative differently and makes it seem like not was partly Louis’s fault what happened. He takes exception to this and we see the events as he portrays them. AS He met and took home a man called Reda he is a man of Kabyle (not arabic as his family think later) descent. The two meet get on as Edouard is heading home on Christmas Eve excited about the night he has had with his friends. Then he invites himself back to Louis’s for a drink s. When they arrive at the flat Reda reaches into Louis’s pocket for the keys which turn Louis on. So far it is all ok and the evening moves pin the shower and grow closer. But then when he sees something has disappeared the face of the man he spent the evening with changes and the night starts to take a turn for the worse and the events that follow he describes how it felt to be attacked and then raped.

He told me that he was Kabyle and that his father had come to France in the early sixties. This was twenty years before Reda was born. When we met, Reda must have been in his early thirties. They sent his father to a designated immigrant hostel somewhere to the north of Paris, I forget the exact town, with no more than a change of clothes and a few things stuffed into a little suitcase – and not because he had nothing, though it’s true he didn’t have much, but because he wasn’t allowed to bring any more with him; as if it weren’t enough to be poor, he had to seem poor too. Reda began to tell me all this when we were standing outside my building, but it was later – when we were lying together in bed and I was begging to know more about him, about his life

They initially get on and he learns about the young man he has met Reda.

I said yesterday it was connected to the book I had read yesterday Black box the story of a Japanese rape victim that was a powerful story and this is too we have not had so many male rape novels, well I haven’t read the many and one like this that recounts the worst night of Louis life in such detail is a brave narrative but one that has to be told yes race plays a part after his family blame the fact of this on what happened to Edouard. But as he says he isn’t Arabic and that wasn’t caused by the events of that night. He records the detail of that night but also the aftermath this is where it differs from the book yesterday as it shows how he went to the police and they took it seriously and the trauma that followed that night the PTSD and how he has to make sure he hadn’t got aids the worry of that after that attack. As I say he is an heir to Ernaux he is very much in the style of a writer in Autofiction also he has a visceral nature of Faulkner as in the middle of the book when he compares his events to those Faulkner wrote. Have you read any of the books from Louis?

Winston’s score – B one mans worst night recounted and the aftermath of it.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Jan 04, 2023 @ 06:27:31

    I remember the shock when I was a teenager of seeing Lawrence of Arabia assaulted in the film of that name, I don’t think I knew that it could happen to men until then.


  2. Trackback: Stu’s 2023 journey January | Winstonsdad's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

January 2023


%d bloggers like this: