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Histoire de la violence : roman by…

Histoire de la violence : roman (original 2016; edition 2016)

by Édouard Louis

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Title:Histoire de la violence : roman
Authors:Édouard Louis
Info:Paris : Seuil, [2016], c2016
Collections:Your library

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Histoire de la violence by Édouard Louis (2016)



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Showing 4 of 4
I will get thisout of the way first: I hate the term "nonfiction novel". That is an oxymoron. Wikipedia (for what that's worth) describes memoir, biography, and autobiography as "forms" of the nonfiction novel.

This particular book is subtitled "a novel". I believe it is actually a memoir. Memoirs don't have to be exactly factual, they are just as much about the author's perception, memory, and recall of events. Two people could wrote memoirs of the same events and the facts would seem to be different. This is why eyewitness accounts often can't be trusted. In any case, this book is shelved with the novels. Louis' first book was also a "nonfiction novel" (memoir, based on summaries of it). There is a perfectly good term for the form Louis writes, why not use it?! Unless the events in these books did not actually occur, in which case there is no "nonfiction" to be had. I will assume they did.
In this book Louis explains, discusses, struggles with, and ruminates on the Christmas Eve when he was raped and nearly killed by a man he had met hours before. He is clearly struggling with self-blame, as well as confusion and second-guessing his own actions, including his final decision to go to the police, who made him question his choices and decisions. Much of the story is he listening to his sister describe what he had told her to his husband, with some of her commentary. Is this a "novel" because he never actually eavesdropped on sister? If he even has a sister? Perhaps this is his way of telling the tale without telling it, as the words are coming out of his "sister's" mouth?

Moving and interesting, I just wish it was called a memoir. ( )
  Dreesie | Aug 30, 2018 |
This is a young man's (Edouard) account of his rape by a stranger (Reda) who he picked up in the street and took back to his apartment. It's essentially the story of a gay pick-up gone wrong and the humiliating consequences of it.

The actual encounter including the sex actually goes well until Edouard accuses the stranger of trying to steal his cellphone. Reda reacts to this with outrage that his lineage is being disrespected (a coping mechanism probably masking a guilty conscience). He becomes violent and tries to strangle Edouard, before raping him. After the sexual attack Edouard manages to get Reda out of the apartment. Then readers learn what Edouard endures after the rape, including going to the emergency room at a hospital for treatment and eventually reluctantly reporting it to the police upon the urging of friends. He is sent to several police stations to tell his story. He fears reporting the attack thinking that Reda will come back and do him harm. The attack has left him confused and insecure. His friends are supportive, although he seems to resent their efforts to help him.

Some commentators have deemed this book to be great contemporary literature and social commentary. That may be so, but I read it solely as the account of a gay man being raped by a trick. It's easy to sympathize with Edouard over the post-attack events and his feelings about the rape, even though I got no sense of him having any outrage over his violation. He seems more concerned about how Reda would treated in prison and how the police seem to be prejudiced against Arabs.

My comments about this book may be dismissed as being simplistic. I cannot usefully analyze the structure of the book or how the author tells the story (I found it disjointed and unfocused). I did learn that this form of writing is called "autofiction". The question I am left with is how much is real, and how much is made up? ( )
  BrianEWilliams | Aug 25, 2018 |
Hm, veldig usikker på denne egentlig. Den var rotete å høre på som lydbok. Mulig det hadde vært bedre å lese den. ( )
  henriette89 | Apr 21, 2018 |
Hm, veldig usikker på denne egentlig. Den var rotete å høre på som lydbok. Mulig det hadde vært bedre å lese den. ( )
  henriette89 | Apr 21, 2018 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Book description
"J'ai rencontré Reda un soir de Noël. Je rentrais chez moi après un repas avec des amis, vers quatre heures du matin. Il m'a abordé dans la rue et j'ai fini par lui proposer de monter. Nous avons passé le reste de la nuit ensemble, on discutait, on riait. Vers six heures du matin, il a sorti un revolver et il a dit qu'il allait me tuer. Le lendemain, les démarches médicales et judiciaires ont commencé."
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"...On Christmas Eve 2012, in Paris, the novelist douard Louis was raped and almost murdered by a man he had just met. This act of violence left Louis shattered; its aftermath made him a stranger to himself and sent him back to the village, the family, and the past he had sworn to leave behind. A bestseller in France--challenged and vindicated in the courts--History of Violence is a short nonfiction novel in the tradition of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, but with the victim as its subject. Moving seamlessly and hypnotically between past and present, between Louis's voice and the voice of an imagined narrator, History of Violence has the exactness of a police report and the searching, unflinching curiosity of memoir at its best. It records not only the casual racism and homophobia of French society but also their subtle effects on lovers, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. It represents a great step forward for a young writer whose acuity, skill, and depth are unmatched by any novelist of his generation, in French or English."--Amazon.com.… (more)

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