A Woman’s Battles and Transformations
- 10,99 €
- 10,99 €
'Édouard Louis is one of the most important literary voices of his generation' Guardian
Everything started with a photo. To see her free, hurtling fulsomely towards the future, made me think back to the life she shared with my father. Seeing the photo reminded me that those twenty years of devastation were not anything natural but were the result of external forces - society, masculinity, my father - and that things could have been otherwise.
One day, Édouard Louis finds a photograph of his mother from twenty years ago. A picture of a happy young woman, full of hopes and dreams. Growing up, Édouard only knew his mother's sadness, as she found herself trapped in the humdrum life of a housewife, and her struggles against the dominant world of men. What happened in those years since the photo was taken?
Then, at the age of forty-five, his mother frees herself from this oppression. She leaves her husband and her old life behind, to start a new one in Paris.
A Woman's Battles and Transformations is Édouard Louis's most tender book yet. It reckons with the cruel systems that govern our lives, with politics and power - and with the possibility of escape. It is an exquisite and loving portrait of a mother, and an honouring of her self-discovery and liberation as she chooses to live on her own terms.
Translated from the French by Tash Aw
In this penetrating work, French novelist Louis (History of Violence) turns a sharp yet forgiving gaze on the struggles of his mother, and the complicated bond he shared with her, "a coming together that started with our drifting apart." Slipping seamlessly between lyrical and academic modes of storytelling, he offers more of an impressionistic study than a biography of his mother, sketching the story of her life around the dreams she was forced to give up: leaving hospitality school in the 1950s at age 17 to have her first child; remaining in an unhappy marriage to have a second child; fleeing from one alcoholic husband to another; and raising three additional children. Woven throughout the narrative of unrelenting misfortune are moments of liberation culminating in his mother's decision to leave the author's father alongside Louis's own affecting account of grappling with his queerness ("What is a man? Virility, power, camaraderie with other boys? I never had any of that"), long a point of contention between mother and son. As he recounts the "fragments of tenderness" that eventually led them to reconcile, Louis delivers an incisive portrait of the ways oppression and social forces brought chaos to their lives, and how they found freedom through compassion. This slim account has serious substance.