‘Violence is a very complex thing.’
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Published in: March-April 2018 issue.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED four years ago, Édouard Louis’ debut novel The End of Eddy (translation by Michael Lucey, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017) quickly established the young author—he was in his early twenties when he wrote it—as a new literary phenomenon. The book, an autobiographical novel about growing up poor and gay in a village in northern France, has already been translated into twenty languages.
“I wanted to bear objective witness to an unbearable violence,” Louis told me when I interviewed him last year. The violence he speaks of—and writes about so powerfully—is the violence engendered by poverty and class domination, which he sees as “always linked to gender domination and to homophobia.” Louis’ suffering—within his family and at school (and later in what he hopes will be the more tolerant embrace of Paris and the bourgeoisie)—is unsparingly described in the novel’s crisp, lapidary prose. “We are witnessing the blossoming of a strong new voice who has a long career ahead of him,” wrote Eduardo Febles in his review of the book in these pages (G&LR, Sept-Oct 2017).
I spoke with Louis via Facetime (I was in New York, he was in Paris) on the eve of his departure for the Singapore Book Festival in early November 2017.

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Philip Gambone is the author of a book of interviews with gay fiction writers, Something Inside (University of Wisconsin Press).


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