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History of Violence: A Novel


Édouard Louis

In conversation with Steven Reigns

“Édouard Louis uses literature as a weapon,” says a recent New York Times profile of the internationally bestselling French author. Louis, whose highly acclaimed first autobiographical novel, The End of Eddy, confronts both the institution of discrimination as he experienced it first-hand, growing up in a small town in Northern France where he was bullied and forced to conceal his homosexuality and as well, the violence perpetrated on his hardscrabble community by an indifferent state. Now in his second book, the writer delivers another unsparing examination of survival—this time the story of his own rape and near murder by a stranger on Christmas Eve in 2012. In History of Violence, Louis copes with his post-traumatic stress disorder as he moves seamlessly and hypnotically between past and present, between his own voice and the voice of an imagined narrator to understand how such violence could occur. In a conversation with Steven Reigns, Louis examines his own complicated search for justice in a political system that marginalizes its citizens through class inequities and leaves entire communities vulnerable, powerless, and feeling neglected.