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History of Violence

By: Lorin Stein, Edouard Louis

Publisher: Macmillan Trade

Imprint: FSG

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780374170592

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On Sale: | Pages: 224

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History of Violence is international bestselling French author Edouard Louis's autobiographical novel about surviving a shocking sexual assault and coping with the post-traumatic stress disorder of its aftermath.On Christmas Eve 2012, in Paris, the novelist Edouard 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.
...a powerful story of the damage sexual assault does to its victims, and of the slow but uncertain healing that, at least in this case, follows.... We learn a lot in this novel about the people Louis grew up with and the world they inhabit. But unlike a book like Hillbilly Elegy, which seeks to understand, Louis' novels strive for something different, and subtler, than that. Louis is telling us this story not so that we'll understand, but rather so that we can be changed by the power of the story itself.... History of Violence extends this virtuous but fraught cycle, in which books we love prepare us, in ways good and bad, expected and not, for the next story to come our way.
—Dallas Morning News
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