A Women’s Battle and Transformations by Édouard Louis

A Woman’s battle and Transformation by Édouard Louis

French fiction

Orignal title –Combats et métamorphoses d’une femme

Translator – Tash Aw

Source – Personal copy

I reviewed History of Violence last month But I was looking through Waterstones sale at the beginning of the year and this hardback edition was one of the many books they had half-price so I decided I would get it and after loving History of Violence I had to read this as his mum had been a figure in both those books a character there but I want to know more about his mother as in the earlier books his father had been the figure that had loomed large in his life as he was an ogre of a man and we see what happened from his mum’s view of his growing up and what happened to her.

Looking at this image, I felt language disappear from me. To see her free, hurtling fulsomely towards the future, made me think back to the life she shared with my father, the humiliation she endured from him, the pov-erty, the twenty years of her life deformed and almost destroyed by misery and masculine violence, between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five, a time when others experience life, freedom, travel, learning about oneself.

Seeing the photo reminded me that those twenty years of devastation were not anything natural but were the result of external forces – society, masculinity, my father – and that things could have been otherwise.

The picture on the cover is the image he talks about here

The cover of the book is the nugget that led to the book it is a photo he had found of his mum before his father had worn her down it was a young woman with her whole life in front of her. As he said he had seen what twenty years of living in his father’s shadow and rages had done to his mother. She had a bright future, she want to be a cook but when she met he husband those plans had gone out of the window. She settled in a job as a home help but after the events in one of the other books where Edsdy’s father loses his job as a result of a back problem the families fortunes take a turn for a worse and as he is oin control of what his Mum can do such as telling her not to learn to drive. Which could have helped her work life a lot easier. It is that atmosphere ( was reminded of my childhood my stepfather is. overbear oath of a man ) the sense of the house I got the silence and an almost constant feeling of it not being right I felt in the book. But unlike my late mum that I never saw separated from my stepfather. So the latter part of the book when his mum found a new found freedom I loved.

I’ve been told that literature should never attempt to explain, only to capture reality, but I’m writing to explain and understand her life.

I’ve been told that literature should never repeat itself, but I want to write only the same story again and again, returning to it until it reveals fragments of its truth, digging hole after hole in it until all that is hidden begins to seep out.

I’ve been told that literature should never resemble a display of feelings, but I write only to allow emotions to spring forth, those sentiments that the body cannot express.

I loved these words touching

I love Louis I think at the moment he is one of those writers I will read every book he writes, I have the one left about his father to read then I’ll be waiting until he is the new master of French Autofiction. But he reminds me of her at times of situations in my own childhood My stepfather was never too violent just a difficult man with a number of issues and my childhood had this constant feeling like in the book of unease that makes every day so hard. I got his mum and it reminded me of my mum a peacemaker and tightrope walker in the house. He brings you into his home growing up and his mother’s world so well she is a victim but also a survivor and this is what I loved so much at the end. I had hoped My brother and i would have got it when my mum had well i don’t know but we had thought we’d had a time when she’d been with us and our stepfather wasn’t in the scene but she passed away far too young. This is what I love about reading and the journey we take in books occasionally you get those books that just touch a nerve in your own world and I think there will be a great many people that will have the same connection with this book. How does it feel to be the only constant in a violent world;rd bring up kids here it is captured how hard it can be and the scars it leaves. Hae you read this short powerful book by him?

Winstons score -+A harrowing look at his mother’s life and what could have been and wasn’t and what happen after !!

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.

June 2023


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