Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “La Bâtarde” as Want to Read:
La Bâtarde
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

La Bâtarde

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  342 ratings  ·  32 reviews
An obsessive and revealing self-portrait of a remarkable woman humiliated by the circumstances of her birth and by her physical appearance, La Batarde relates Violette Leduc's long search for her own identity through a series of agonizing and passionate love affairs with both men and women. When first published, La Batarde earned Violette Leduc comparisons to Jean Genet fo ...more
Paperback, 488 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 1964)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about La Bâtarde, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about La Bâtarde

The Second Sex by Simone de BeauvoirThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Summer Book by Tove Jansson
Women Around the World
86th out of 683 books — 127 voters
A Division of the Spoils by Paul ScottThe Horse's Mouth by Joyce CaryThe Day of the Scorpion by Paul ScottThe Towers of Silence by Paul ScottThe Best of Philip K. Dick by Philip K. Dick
REALLY Underrated Books (Fewer than 1,000 Ratings)
209th out of 3,017 books — 1,207 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,857)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
For a long time this was my favorite book. When a friend heard that, she gave me a copy she'd found in a 2nd hand shop, and then a year later, forgetting that she'd already done so, made me a second gift of the book (she's very thoughtful). I now own three different editions, neither of which is the one pictured here, a newer one by Dalkey Archive. I remember strongly recommending this autobiography to a new writer-friend in 1986; she started it and found it too slow-going. I found this difficul ...more
Violette LeDuc is needy and she knows it. She stages suicides. She delights when her big nose halts elevator eyes. She’s prone to romantic friendships and poor boundaries; as a result she’s always unhinged. I particularly love her in obsessive-romantic mode; she records her hard falls for brutes, sycophants and gay-identified father figures in painstaking detail. I imagine she was an undertow in real life, but in print she’s glamour and genius.

LeDuc's prose is consistently amazing. Observe:

This book had an incredibly powerful tractor beam/lesbian Death Star effect on me in my mid-20's. Literary self destruction at its best. All of you sexually confused goth girls: put down your razors and pick up La Batarde.
This book makes me feel sick. It has a physical effect on me. Reading it is like revisiting a terrible moment in my life and having my face rubbed into it, like you might rub a cat's face into its own piss.
Rachel Aloise
I discovered this author recently through the film Violette by Martin Provost. After the equally wonderful portrait of Séraphine de Senlis, Provost is becoming somewhat of a champion for the little known artist. Violette Leduc, at the age of 57, enjoyed a short-lived literary success with La Batârde. Her previous books did not sell, despite the critical esteem of Simone de Beauvoir, Camus, Sartre, Jean Genet... and she quickly fell into oblivion again. This film is a tribute to her immense talen ...more
La Batarde does not gratify. Leduc refuses to stoop to pander to panting hearts - she simply gives you words of poetry to describe her ugliness, her love affairs, small joys and solitude. And yet, she is not all poetry. She is experimental, and is relentless is driving forth her need to tell you about what a horrible being she is - and yet in the end, you find that you feel not only sympathy but a aching heart when she falls and rises again.
From her childhood trials in provincial France, to her
Mar 20, 2012 Kate added it
Shelves: 2012
Wore on me after awhile. Imagine the most irritating, self-absorbed person you have ever met, who has minimal self-discipline, but who also happens to be a beautiful writer. On one page she writes about the pleasures of eating an endive cooked in cream. It is over in two paragraphs, but it keeps you thinking. On another page she writes a really miserable self-destructive dialogue with some horrible man who doesn't love her, and twenty pages later, she's still going at it. Welcome to almost 500 p ...more
Well written, but too indulgent. It's like being in a relationship that you can't get out of until the bitter end. I felt this after reading 187 pages of the 400+ pages.
Meg Powers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
There are moments of brilliant writing in this, but much of it is so buried in the writer's obsession with herself that it makes the book quite a slog at times. Often I just wanted to slap her and tell her to stop bitching. Also, this is the only memoir I've ever read where the writer skips over scenes by telling the reader she's already written about those events in previous memoirs. I guess for the ideal Violette Leduc experience, one should surround oneself with all of her books and breathles ...more
Mary Kathryn
A gorgeous but heartrending portrait of a dyke born before her time. Her languid experimental prose rises to sensuous heights when she's describing her relationships with women, but the 2nd half of the book, where her ego gets the better of her and she sets her sights on a wealthy and cultured gay man, is harder to stomach.
"Oh, Violette Leduc" is now my inner monologue refrain for making terrible decisions with complete self-awareness and stubbornness.

"Her desires were like farewells"
now rereading, and will add notes when able to compare two views from fourteen years apart.

the ghost of it has sustained me during those years.
Allison Floyd
Me: Uncle, uncle, uncle!

P. 135: I win.

I lack la stamina for this extreme of navel-gazing, no matter how sparkly the lint.
Mike Horan
An exquisitely written existential, feminist masterpiece. A tantalizing and tumultuous descent down the rabbit hole, journeying through the author’s personal trials set against the escalation and onslaught of WWII and occupied France. Shocking in places, even by today's sexual mores, the loathing and longing in this story brought me to tears at several points - overwhelmed by such brutal honesty told with unflinching self-analysis and insight. ‘Dear reader’, you will be inextricably changed.
Difficult and enlightening, La Batarde is a gorgeous self-reverie by a unique writer. See the movie Violette, then read her work. Her voice is awesome. She drags you deep in the world of an ugly, poor woman who manages to redeem herself against all odds.
Jamie is
hadn't heard of this author before i came across it in my workplace's library, but simone de beauvoir wrote a laudatory review of it... hope to finish it within the next couple of days and write my thoughts about it; seems like it has a lot to mull over!
Very heavy. Doesn't let you remove yourself from her situation.

Taking all too long on this one. I lent it to a friend so I'll be taking a break on it.
Holly Cara Price
i have read this one over and over again and never fail to be inspired by its brilliance
Violette is incredibly frank and such a compelling, passionate writer.
Distress Strauss
The greatest book to come out of the post-war French generation? I think so.
Ana Pf
A must read. She was forgotten, but she shouldn't have. Always needy, always down, lacking formal education, haunted by the love-hate relationship with her mother, perhaps. But she had the ability to write. "Anything unattainable, she wanted", said John Patterson in his review of the movie in The Guardian - like so many of us have at some moment in our lives. De Beauvoir put it brilliantly too - “I know of no finer salvation through literature.”

I will definitely reread this book again.
Czarny Pies
Sep 04, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Des gens qui s'interessent a la question lesbienne
Recommended to Czarny by: Simone de Beauvoir.
Shelves: french-lit
La batarde est la grande classique des hauts et des bas d'une lesbienne mal comprise pendant les annees vingt, trente et quarante . Esperons que tous les efforts bien intentionees des dernieres annees pour promouvoir la fierte gaie rendent la vie plus facile aux gens prises avec une societe et une famille qui n'ont aucune sympathie.

Malheureusement je crois que ce livre tres dur n'a perdu rien de son pertinence depuis son lancement en 1964.

Jason Anthony
I've spent weeks on this thing and have read as far into it as I'm going to get. It's incredibly well written in a beautifully personal style but it is just from too difficult of a read for even me. Incredibly slow-paced. I challenge anyone who thinks they can take this on to do so because I imagine the rewards are worth it but it just wasn't for me.
I find her books tedious to read. She can be quite poetic at times but her narrative tends to ramble. She definitely had issues & I think that she was not able to convey them clearly. Obsessive...Yes!
I cannot continue with this book - it may be a bad translation but it has become a total chore to read or else it is so much self indulgent crap l just can't relate!!maybe I'll try again another time!
Apr 20, 2008 Chloe is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I can't seem to get through this book, but I started reading it about 2 years ago. Maybe
This was an interlibrary loan that I didn't finish before the due date.
Violette Leduc always gets the shitty end of the stick. I do too. So what.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 61 62 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Pure and the Impure
  • Genet
  • Mademoiselle de Maupin
  • The Book of Promethea
  • Dark Spring
  • My Mother/Madame Edwarda/The Dead Man
  • Some Thing Black
  • Our Lady of the Flowers
  • Mouchette
  • The Songs of Bilitis
  • Olivia
  • The Last Days
  • Les Guérillères
  • The Book of Monelle
  • Sita
  • The Torture Garden
  • The Inquisitory
  • HERmione
Leduc was born in Arras, Pas de Calais, France, the illegitimate daughter of a servant girl, Berthe. In Valenciennes, the young Violette spent most of her childhood suffering from an ugly self-image and from her mother's hostility and overprotectiveness.

Her formal education, begun in 1913, was interrupted by World War I. After the war, she went to a boarding school, the Collège de Douai, where she
More about Violette Leduc...
Thérèse et Isabelle Mad in Pursuit The Lady and the Little Fox Fur In the Prison of Her Skin Ravages

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Le atemorizaban las presencias porque podían fundirse en ausencia” 0 likes
More quotes…