- 12,99 €
In this Prix Femina–winning memoir, a writer at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo recounts surviving the deadly terror attack on their office.
On January 7, 2015, two terrorists claiming allegiance to ISIS attack the Paris office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The event causes untold pain to the victims and their families, prompts a global solidarity movement, and ignites a fierce debate over press freedoms and the role of satire today. Philippe Lançon, a journalist, author, and a weekly contributor to Charlie Hebdo is gravely wounded in the attack—an experience that upends his relationship to the world.
As Lançon attempts to reconstruct his life on the page, he rereads Proust, Thomas Mann, Kafka, and others in search of guidance. It is a year before he can return to writing, a year in which he learns to work through his experiences and their aftermath. Disturbance is not an essay on terrorism nor is it a witness’s account of Charlie Hebdo. It is an honest, intimate account of a man seeking to put his life back together after it has been torn apart.
“A powerful and deeply civilized memoir.” —The New York Times
A terrorist atrocity reshapes a victim's life in this biting memoir. Journalist and novelist Lan on (L' lan) was wounded in the 2015 attack by two al Qaeda followers that killed 11 of his colleagues at the Paris satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo; one bullet caused a disfiguring jaw injury. The book is anchored by his stark account of the massacre "My eye turned to the head and saw, through his hair, the brain tissue of this man, this colleague, this friend" but mostly concerns his medical struggle through many months and surgeries to repair his maimed face. In Rendall's excellent translation, Lan on's convalescence is an agonizing comedy of pain and humiliation his uncontrollable salivation keeps causing his bandages to droop off that's fascinated with healing; the tubes and implants invading his body become characters in their own right, along with the long-suffering nurses, the silent policemen guarding his hospital room, and his brusquely humane lead surgeon. Woven throughout are Proustian reveries that mark the divide between past and present: "I'd acquired the habit of devouring cookies in the family kitchen, when my parents were away, walking barefoot on the cold tile floor." Clear-eyed, endlessly curious, and never sentimental, Lan on's engrossing saga shows how a writer's rich powers of observation and reflection bridge a chasm of tragedy.