Who Killed My Father
Nonfiction by Édouard Louis
Highly acclaimed for The End of Eddy, Édouard Louis in 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.
“Racism,” he quotes Ruth Gilmore, “is the exposure of certain groups to premature death.” And Louis goes to visit the ugly gray town of his childhood to see his dying father—barely fifty years old, he can hardly walk or breathe: “You belong to the category of humans whom politics consigns to an early death.” It’s as simple as that.
But hand in hand with searing, specific denunciations are tender passages of a love story between a father and son badly damaged by shame, poverty and homophobia, but still so alive. Tenderness reconciles them just as the state kills off his father. Louis goes after the French system with bare knuckles but then turns to his long-alienated father with open arms: this passionate combination makes Who Killed My Father a heartbreaking book.
Translated from the French by Lorin Stein