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About the Author

Emmanuel Carrere is one of France's most critically acclaimed writers, author of screenplays, a biography of Philip K. Dick, and two novels, including CLASS TRIP, which won the prestigious Prix Femina. A major bestseller in France, THE ADVERSARY is being published in eighteen countries. Carrere show more lives in Paris (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Emmanuel Carrère, photo by Jean-Marie David

Works by Emmanuel Carrère

Limonov (2011) 741 copies
The Kingdom (2014) 528 copies
Lives Other Than My Own (2009) 463 copies
Class Trip (1997) 377 copies
The Mustache (1986) 337 copies
A Russian Novel (2007) 322 copies
Yoga (2019) 271 copies
Class Trip / The Mustache (1998) 125 copies
97,196 Words: Essays (2019) 86 copies
V13: Chronique judiciaire (2022) 79 copies
Gothic Romance (1984) 48 copies
A Calais (2016) 24 copies
Le Détroit de Behring (1986) 21 copies
Hors d'atteinte ? (1988) 21 copies
Facciamo un gioco (2004) 19 copies
L'Amie du jaguar (2007) 5 copies
The Moustache [2005 film] (2017) 5 copies
The Julie Project (2011) 4 copies
V13 (2023) 4 copies
Werner Herzog (1982) 2 copies
l'amie du jaguar (2011) 2 copies
L'Adversaire 1 copy
Between Two Worlds (2023) 1 copy
Protivnik Božji (2003) 1 copy
Neki drugi životi (2011) 1 copy

Associated Works

Granta 137: Followers (2016) — Contributor — 56 copies


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Common Knowledge



(version française)

I first heard of Édouard Limonov through Adam Curtis’ most recent series Can’t Get You Out of my Head. I went back and watched the scenes that feature Limonov after finishing this book and was startled by the difference in tone between the way Carrere depicts him vis a vis Curtis. In this book we are presented with a Limonov who early in his life was cast as the iconoclastic rebel, the anti-elitist punk turned fascist and violent nationalist. Carrere is clearly disturbed and confused by this supposed change undertaken by Limonov in the later part of his life. However, he goes through pains to make us understand that he is unusually sympathetic towards Limonov’s actions in comparison to the liberal milieu of Parisian writers and intellectuals he lives amongst; people who wanted nothing to do with the Russian writer after he was shown in Pawel Pawilowski’s documentary firing a machine gun towards the besieged Sarajevo in the early 90s. Throughout the book, Carrere seems to be searching for a way to explain the fascination he feels for Limonov to himself and to the reader. Despite valiant efforts, he never quite succeeds, evinced by the books closing pages. I wonder if Carrere had written this book now if he would feel differently. The world of the 00s and early 10s feels light years away from the present we currently inhabit, and I think every passing year brings Limonov’s sentiments into clearer focus. (I deliberately use the word sentiment, because going by this book, Limonov never codified his intuitive beliefs about the world into any kind of philosophy or -ism, for better or worse) Limonov knew that with the fall of the Soviet Union Russia was entering into a profoundly dark period of history that has played out just as he expected. This in combination with the systemic rot he inhabited while living in the west certainly played into forming his pessimistic perspective on how the world was progressing, a perspective that seems more and more vindicated. What made Limonov a compelling figure was his willingness to face reality as it truly was. He pulling back the shroud of neoliberal class apartheid as it existed in the West, and he scorned the sacrifice of all tradition and collective identity for the sake of material gain in the post-Communist states. Anyone who faces the world as it truly is, without the protection of platitudes and propaganda, will, even should, be radicalized. Was Limonov toying with dangerous ideas? Absolutely. Was he fraternizing with evil people? It seems so. But I think he was attracted to strains of thought potent enough to abnegate the rising tide of the destructive world order we are now living with, and through this attraction pursued ideas beyond what most of us would feel comfortable with. But I think it’s important to the consider the fact that, just as Carrere is searching for a lens through which to view this complicated man, Limonov was perhaps also searching. We are unfortunately only given brief glimpses into his inner psychology, he who was so opaque. When any kind of inner dilemma is reveal, it sticks out for the incongruity. Limonov typically came off so self-assured that he was on the moral high ground, but It does, after all, take supreme self-confidence (fabricated as it may be) to make any kind of impact on the scale that he pined for.

Curtis, in contrast with Carrere, shows Limonov as a kind of pure provocateur, someone who knew that he had to bring out the “big guns” in order to fight against the ascendant powers of neoliberalism and global capital that were taking over the world. These “big guns” were namely the most demonized credos of the last century, Bolshevism and fascism. In Curtis’ telling, Limonov wanted to reclaim these ideas, so demonized by those he set himself in opposition against, because they were the last mass movement that truly allowed for the subsuming of the individual, and therefore made change a possibility. Limonov and his enemies both knew that this kind of mass movement was the only thing that could stop their winning streak. The fact that both parts of the National Bolshevik namesake were responsible for the widest scale human rights abuses in history was, to Limonov, beside the point. In his conception, if we lose sight of the factors that made them both so successful in the first place, something even more important than human life may be at stake.

I think Curtis’ depiction will be shown as more in line with how history will see Limonov. We are after all, still developing the vocabulary and intellectual framework to understand the current shitshow we find ourselves in. Do I think Limonov was correct in everything or even most of what did and believed? No, I don’t. But I think people like him are essential to finding new ways to make the world a better place and fighting against the cynical, nihilist apparatus that has installed itself at the head of world affairs.
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hdeanfreemanjr | 23 other reviews | Jan 29, 2024 |
Much as I enjoy a good action-thriller film every once in a while I do not generally read crime fiction, or crime non-fiction for that matter. I have been a victim of crime more times than I care to discuss and I have very low regard for criminals. I mean really low. It was by accident that I was lured into this account of Jean-Claude Romand. Romand is no "romantic" criminal. Except for maybe Robin Hood, there are no romantic criminals for me. In the telling of this story there is a man with a great void in him. And stupidity. And cowardice. There is an emptiness of meaning. In some ways this story is a distillation of some of my greatest fears. My fears that I will some day let down my family. My fears that I myself am an empty vessel. At the same time it is a call to me not to be consumed by my fears, and not to let what little truth I know escape into the emptiness of space.… (more)
MylesKesten | 37 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |
I found this book to be an exceptionally sincere and well written account of mental sufferance. It reminded me of Styron's "Darkness visible".
It speaks to all those who are fighting mental illness every day of their life and to those who are trying to get a bit of peace by practicing meditation or yoga.
tiaoconnor | 10 other reviews | Dec 26, 2023 |
Fictie of non fictie? Heerlijk verhalend (vanuit zichzelf) beschreven en op aangename manier (al lezend dus) veel bijgeleerd, eerder nog over meditatie en rai chi dan over yoga.
AnkeL | 10 other reviews | Nov 4, 2023 |



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