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The Child

(Jacques Vingtras #1)

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  510 ratings  ·  27 reviews
The Child is a story about growing up that is comparable in humor and humanity to Great Expectations, even as its unflinching exposure of violence and hypocrisy foreshadows the nightmare realsim of Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Jules Vallès, an anarchist and a bohemian, dedicated his book "to all those who were bored stiff at school or reduced to tears at home, who in childhood ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published January 31st 2005 by NYRB Classics (first published 1878)
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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May 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pub-zikit, icast
סיפור ילדותו המזעזעת והמוכה של המספר. מתוך ילדות עשוקה שכללה מכות רצח, הרעבה עד כדי התענגות על החוט שקושר את העוף והאבסה בבשר, הלבשה בבגדים שתפורים מבגדים תחתוניים מגוחכים, אישפוז בבית משוגעים, ולפינלה התעללות בבית הספר הצליח לצמוח סופר בעל שיעור קומה הנלחם על זכויות ילדים.

ספר די מזעזע. בכנות. הישבן של המסכן הפך לעור סוליה מרוב הצלפות. לא ברור לי איך שרד את הקטסטרופה הזו.
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
“A great nineteenth-century novel translated into English for the first time.”

So says the back cover of this book, and I have to agree.

I was gripped even from the dedication.

“I dedicate this book all those who were bored stiff at school or reduced to tears at home, who in childhood were bullied by their teachers or thrashed by their parents.”

Jacques, the young hero is thrashed by his parents in the very first chapter. They are unhappy people, concerned only with their social status and advanceme
Chuck LoPresti
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Not exactly hilarious (but it is funny) or unflinching (yet gripping and fairly brutal at times) but a very enjoyable coming of age read. Somewhere between Farrell's O'Neil saga and Moricz's Be Faithful Until Death in terms of humor and brutality. A young boy's parents demonstrate their lack of social intelligence by attempting to define their social status by their parenting. Beating after beating fails to do anything other than alienate a boy from his studies and his parents. The boy sees the ...more
While reading the autobiographical L'Enfant, I was often reminded of Dickens' Great Expectations – especially earlier on, when the world is seen and described through the eyes of an ingenuous, impressionable, mistreated, poor boy. Yet Vallès' tale, though lacking in intrepid adventures, cold-hearted women and convoluted plots, is far more real, and in this way it also reminded me at times of the Rougon-Macquart series. Everything does not fall into place in orderly Victorian fashion; the body an ...more
Czarny Pies
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Les étudiants en histoire au premier cycle.
Shelves: french-lit
L'enfant est le premier volume de la trilogie Jacques Vingtras qui raconte la vie de Jules Valles de sa naissance jusqu'a la chute du commnue de Paris. Il vaut mieux lire les trois (L'enfant etant le premier et l'Insurge etant le dernier) dans leur ordre de parution.

L'Enfant est un récit autobiographique ou l'auteur décrit une enfance penible et pleines d'humiliations. Ce roman fait penser a L'enfance de Gorki. Dans les deux cas, une enfance douleureuse semble avoir pousser l'auteur a un engagem
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Best Bildungsroman I've ever read besides The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Denton Welch's incomparable In Youth is Pleasure. It is also one of the funniest novels I've ever read. He is funny in the way that Woody Allen is funny--but it is more funny than he. An obvious influence on Celine.

The book reminded me of the movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore in its impossible balance of complete absurdity and very particular tenderness. Somehow the hilarity of the exaggeration does not undermine the
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
sortie brutale du livre comme on sort de l'enfance.
grand, fort, libre, avec quelques larmes jolies et grises.
L’auteur raconte, comme le titre l’indique, son enfance, rythmée par les violences physiques et psychologiques, les humiliations que lui ont fait subir ses parents, ainsi que celles que ses camarades ont dû endurer, parfois jusqu’à la mort. On se demande comment des parents peuvent réfléchir comme ça et frapper les gosses à tout bout de champ (on est d’accord en 2020 le respect envers les enfants reste assez faible)

Je viens de lire il y a quelques jours qu’allait se tenir le procès du beau-père
Jul 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'enfant was really a great book for me, the child Jacques Vintgras narrated his life really amazingly. Jacques is in reality Jules Valles, so whenever I read about the hard life he's gone through, I think; all of this has made him a great man.
The most important character in my opinion is the mother and she always used to say 'Il ne faut pas gater les enfants'. She's somehow right about it because this way children will never dare to mistreat their parents when they grow up.
And the most part t
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
J'ai beaucoup aimé le début: un personnage drole, mais qui faisait pitié et la description d'une epoque radicalement différente de la mienne. J'ai eu beaucoup de mal à finir par contre parce que je trouve que tous les problemes deviennent redondants, encore et encore la meme chose, avec la mere qui l'aime donc le bat etc.

Le style de Jules Vallès reste impressionant: "A tous ceux qio creverent d'ennui au college ou qu'on fit pleurer dans la famille, furent tyrannisés par leurs maitres ou rossés
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful insight into the early life of the writer. The tableau of the era is really enjoyable with an attention given to details, and the construction of the characters often gives a good laugh (especially the mother). A great read, it only lacks another layer of serving a stylistic and aesthetic purpose
Alberto Stracuzzi
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Romanzo di formazione, primo di una trilogia, scritta da un militante della Comune di Parigi: un urlo contro l'autoritarismo paterno e materno, una pietra tombale su quell'orrida istituzione della famiglia.
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love it
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty good
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Contemporain de Zola, Jules Vallès est un auteur dont on parle rarement, éclipsé sans doute par d’autres grands noms du XIXème siècle littéraire, mais quel dommage. Vallès décrit avec délicatesse et humour une enfance douloureuse, ponctuées d’expériences difficiles et de tristesse, sans jamais - ou rarement - tombé dans le pathos, grâce à un sarcasme, une ironie maligne qui apporte légèreté à ces souvenirs.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-étoiles
J'ai bien aimé cette autobiographie, certains passages sont un peut long, mais c'était la vie d'avant. Un livre que certains parents devraient lire avec leurs enfants cela leur ferait prendre conscience de beaucoup de choses Peut être que pour l'enfant la vie était dur, mais au moins il avait une éducation et du respect car a l'heure actuelle on se demande s'il y en a encore.

Like Angela's Ashes, L'Enfant is the account of Valles furiously fighting the memory of an agonized childhood, armed to the teeth with desperate humor and marvelous dreams. Hilarious, spectacular, and terrible. I really must finish it someday.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A moving wretchedness.
Susan Zinner
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Terribly depressing, not as funny as some people indicated; called "The Great Expectations" of France...
Vu K
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Vu by: no-one
Bộ sách mang tính tự truyện của chiến sĩ Công xã Paris Jules Vallès, tập 1 đầy tính hài hước, tự trào về gia đình, cha mẹ
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french, humor
if apathy was a coming-of-age story in 1800s France...
Sahar Hassine
Dec 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: trash
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Apathy.
Recommended to Bridget by: GreenApple's warehouse sale
Shelves: nyrb
After you read Apathy, wait four books and then go for this gem. It's translated French loveliness from the Napolepnic era that is tres funny.. not side-splitting but entertaining.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Je mets au défi quiconque de trouver une écriture plus vive et plus moderne. Vous ne croirez pas que ce roman a été écrit au XIXe siècle.
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Jul 04, 2020
rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2016
Anne-Sophie Vassort
rated it it was ok
Apr 24, 2016
Roman Psota
rated it it was ok
Jun 09, 2018
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NYRB Classics: The Child, by Jules Vallès 1 5 Oct 22, 2013 09:12AM  

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Jules Vallès est un journaliste, écrivain et homme politique français d'extrême gauche.

Fondateur du journal Le Cri du Peuple, il fait partie des élus lors de la Commune de Paris en 1871. Condamné à mort, il doit s'exiler à Londres de 1871 à 1880.

Other books in the series

Jacques Vingtras (3 books)
  • Le Bachelier
  • L'Insurgé

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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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