Édouard Louis: Arnaud Delrue

Édouard Louis

Born Eddy Bellegueule in Hallencourt, France, in 1992, ÉDOUARD LOUIS is a novelist and the editor of a scholarly work on the social scientist Pierre Bourdieu.

Who Killed My Father

Nonfiction by Édouard Louis

This bracing new nonfiction book by the young superstar Édouard Louis is both a searing j’accuse of the viciously entrenched French class system and a wrenchingly tender love letter to his father. Who Killed My Father rips into France’s long neglect of the working class and its overt contempt for the poor, accusing the complacent French—at the minimum—of negligent homicide. The author goes to visit the ugly gray town of his childhood to see his dying father, barely fifty years old, who can hardly walk or breathe:…
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The title Who Killed My Father bears no question mark because for Louis there’s no mystery. Striking.

—Bookforum

A brief, poetic telling of the myriad ways societal contempt, homophobia, and poverty can kill a man. Louis serves as both raconteur and son, expressing deep and considered empathy for a man whose absence looms large.

NPR

Whatever one’s politics, readers of this impassioned work are likely to be moved by the Louis family’s plight and the love, however strained, between the author and his father.

Kirkus

Part lament, part searing polemic…Louis’s indictment echoes what has become a battle cry among the French precariat: a crucial text.

The New Republic

A short, wrenching, tender-hearted essay addressed to his dad. Louis frames his (always unnamed) father as emblematic, tracing his perpetual humiliation, under which he suffered in turn, back to the cruelty of the state toward the poor, the way they are scapegoated and then forgotten, struggling under policies that are de facto death sentences.

4Columns

Louis’s book raises the phantom of the political spectres currently haunting France and shines a light on its array of inequalities.

Review 31

From Jacques Chirac to Emmanuel Macron, Louis blames for his father’s ills, for the misery that produced him and so many like him, men seen in the newspapers recently, demonstrating in the streets of Paris and other French cities, wearing gilets jaunes.

The Guardian

A challenge to society’s unfettered praise of individual responsibility and its blindness to systemic injustice. Louis’ barbed prose delivers a warning to the French elite about the poverty and underlying anger of the working classes.

Financial Times

Louis unpacks the reality of shame, by examining over and again what has gone on between himself and his father. His sentences narrow in, Beckett-like, on the texture of the life he left behind.

The Guardian

A poignant ode.

—Fabienne Pascaud, Télérama 

After Karl Ove Knausgaard and Elena Ferrante … it’s difficult to find a literary sensation that has transfixed so many readers.

—John Sunyer, Financial Times

Canny, brilliant: a devastating emotional force.

—Garth Greenwell, The New Yorker

Edouard Louis, the vanguard of France’s new generation of political writers, poses a question without a question mark. Who Killed My Father takes the form of an intimate letter addressed to his father, who is lying on his deathbed at the age of 50. There is no mystery to his father’s state. Jacques Chirac destroyed his intestines. Nicolas Sarkozy broke his back. François Hollande asphyxiated him. And Emmanuel Macron starved him….1789 this is not. But Louis has given his people a voice.

Evening Standard

The head of France’s new wave of revolutionary writers.

Morning Star

Louis speaks with an emotional intensity and stylistic confidence that is hard to ignore. A bludgeoning critique of France’s treatment of its poor.

The Observer
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