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Nothing Holds Back the Night

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  7,514 ratings  ·  742 reviews
Only a teenager when Delphine was born, Lucile raised two daughters largely alone. She was a former child model from a Bohemian family, younger and more glamorous than the other mothers: always in lipstick, wayward and wonderful. But as Delphine grew up, Lucile’s occasional sadness gave way to overwhelming despair and delusion. She became convinced she was telepathic and i ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Bloomsbury USA (first published August 17th 2011)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  7,514 ratings  ·  742 reviews


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Frona
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Being a part of any community, let it be marriage, family or close circle of friends, does not entail an alignment of thoughts and values - however it often feels this way and forms the basis for connecting. Everyone knows an unsettling feeling that a certain kind of recognition brings, when all of a sudden your world becomes more parallel than related to that of others and an abyss opens to show you that an intersection of beliefs is made of so completely different directions that three dimensi ...more
Steven Godin
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
***1/2

Compelled to write this book as a result of her mother’s suicide, French writer Delphine de Vigan weaves together fiction, biography and memoir to delve into the cracks of her family’s increasingly dark history. In the time after discovering Lucile's (her mother) body, Delphine initially resisted the idea of writing her mother, but simply felt it had to be done. Though the testimonies of family members, de Vigan also relies on a collection of home movies, letters, and photos to achieve her
...more
Helene Jeppesen
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The relationship between a mother and her child is something special. Delphine de Vigan is able to make this special relationship come across in her memoir about her own mother, Lucile, who died shortly before Delphine started writing this book.
In the beginning, Delphine tries justifying to herself writing this memoir of a woman that only she and a few others know - after all, there are so many other memoirs out there about mothers. However, Delphine decides to go through with it, and she ends
...more
Elle
I have always admired authors for their apparent limitless creative capacity - I have read books with a world-building so intricate it left me gaping with envy and wonder. My absolute favourite books however, the ones I will stay up till 2am to ponder over, are always firmly grounded in their reality. These books are always overflowing with detail and never fail to grab me with their recounting of a life which may not be our own, but that we can relate to through the common ground of our capacit ...more
Blair
(4.5) I am in awe of what Delphine de Vigan has created in Nothing Holds Back the Night. It is the sister to her superb Based on a True Story, and it strikes me that the books mirror each other in interesting ways. Based on a True Story is a philosophical rumination on the craft of writing dressed up as a story of suspense. Nothing Holds Back the Night is essentially a family memoir, but it is as fast-paced, gripping and tense as a great thriller.

De Vigan sets out to write the story of her mothe
...more
Kirstine
Delphine de Vigan visits her mother, Lucile, one morning. She finds her dead. She's been dead several days.

In the period of grief and mourning that follows an idea takes root: de Vigan must write about her mother. She doesn't know what shape or form the book will take, what sort of book it'll be, and while she interviews her mother's siblings, her friends, reads her writings, looks at and listens to recordings, she still isn't sure what sort of book she's going to write.

Even at the beginning o
...more
Pauline Van etc.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delphine de Vigan’s approach with this book is to understand her mother’s recent suicide. She goes through a bunch of photos, letters, texts and interviews people to get to know her mother better.

In the end, she speaks a lot about the impossibility of being able to write fairly about her mother. The book is a way for her to go through a type of catharsis and break the wheel of mental health problems caused by abuse and unsaid things in her family.

I knew nothing about De Vigan before and was bo
...more
Anya
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my TBR list since last year, after reading Delphine de Vigan’s Prix Renaudot-winning novel “D’après une histoire vraie”. In that novel (which I incidentally also enjoyed), Delphine often referenced “Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit”.

It took some time for me to finally secure a copy of the novel at my library, however I must say that “Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit” was certainly worth the wait…

The novel is Delphine de Vigan’s attempt to look back, and better understand, the life of h
...more
Claire
Nothing Holds Back the Night is the book Delphine de Vigan resisted writing for a long time until she could no longer resist the call. It is a book about her mother Lucile, who she introduces to us on the first page as she discovers her sleeping, the long, cold, hard sleep of death.

She collects old documents, boxes, talks to members of her family, the many Aunts and Uncles and creates a snapshot of Lucile's childhood, a large family of nine children living in Paris and then Versailles, holidayin
...more
Nikola
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
You can find this review here

I have had this book for more than two years now and I got it for under a dollar/pound/euro – brand new might I add! This was a period in my life where I wanted to get different genres of books to read. I have been reading memoirs and non-fiction (mental health) books for a while now and I cannot believe that I have read this book just now! I have to add that I got an ARC of ‘Based on a True Story’ by the same author and that pushed me to read ‘Nothing Holds Back
...more
Teresa
3.8/5
It's a very well written novel where the author tries to make sense out of her mother's suicide by telling her life story, trying to understand what she was and what she meant to her. And through this you also get a 'social' history of France during the second half of the 20th century. I was interested by the author's mother because she was bipolar, and I knew so little about this illness (I think there are quite a few misconceptions associated with it). But overall I wasn't thrilled by the
...more
vicky
I feel like the following quote by Ursula Le Guin in The Guardian describes this book rather well and better than I ever could: “Compassionate and powerful, as well as painful and shocking... The Poirier family – parents and children – appear in a kind of Renoir sunlight, overflowing with life and vibrant personalities, almost enough to conceal the lurking darkness.”
Kriste
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4+, a something little missing to give full five.

This book is about author's mother and the struggles she has to live as fighting mental health issues. From being star as a child and advertising kids clothing to adulthood and fighting depression and cancer at the end.

This have been difficult but interesting and good bookt to read. Very recommended. 0
Jill
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
I loved this book. Review coming soon.
Molly
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worththeread
If this book is ever translated into English, I highly recommend it. It's brutal,so if subjects such as suicide and death and family dysfunction don't sit well with you, skip it. It's dark. It's quite French in its execution.

What was intriguing to me was the blend of autobiography and fictionalized accounts of a time when the author hadn't been born yet, a piecing together of her mother's life that reads like good fiction. The author even says she feels as if she's creating a new genre--a stretc
...more
MA
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is really part memoir, biography and therapy all rolled into one. Delphine de Vigan was on a quest to find out more about her mother, what shaped her and caused her so much pain. She started to write this book after her mother, Lucile, committed suicide. Writing this book had to be difficult because of all that she learned about her mother's past. Through the compelling narration, de Vigan demonstrates candor, sensitivity, sympathy, and self-awareness as she struggles to pull together ...more
Onnica
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a heartbreaking memoir. Full of pathos, pain, family tragedy and secrets. At times it was difficult to listen to - but it was so beautifully written - a truly masterful and thoughtful work from de Vigan. I hope it helped the author to write such a personal chronicle of her family.
Sam
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Haunting
Ann
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
This book is set up as psycho-archeology : the author tries to retrace the life of her mother through her own memories, interviews with family members, reviews of photographs and other documents. Right from the get-go we suspect that Lucile had serious troubles, but it takes a while to get to that point. The author reconstructs the life of the family in which Lucile grew up. At first, the picture is idyllic : a big family with a mother who adored babies, a jovial father. Lots of vacations with t ...more
Joan Kerr
In books of this kind (as de Vigan says, the seam has been mined and the subject overworked) the search for the parent can turn out to be an enquiry into the author’s self. One of the most refreshing aspects of Nothing Holds Back The NIght (Bloomsbury 2013) is that its dynamic drives towards Lucile, the mother, rather than towards Delphine, the writer-daughter.

All the same Gert couldn’t help thinking of the Pompidou building, in which all the plumbing and electric circuitry are on the outside. D
...more
Byurakn
The reason why I chose this book to read was because the topic sounded interesting. I am very much into books about mother-daughter relationships. And Delphine de Vigan had chosen a really brave, painful and personal topic to cover, for which I admire her a lot.

The book as a whole, however, was not as captivating as I was expecting. The first part about Lucile's childhood was beautifully written. The rest of the book could benefit from certain parts being removed. There was too much meta text, w
...more
Rachelle
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A touching look into the life of a daughter, mother and person who struggled with mental illness. I appreciated the clear writing and the honesty with which the author approached her mother's illness, the possible causes of it and the effect it had on her own life. While we can never know what happens in another person's mind or their precise reasons, we can examine our own reactions to it and hopefully improve over time.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I guess when I reviewed this it never saved... sigh... review in a few days
Amalie
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book made me cry
Moushine Zahr
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second novel I've read from French author Delphine de Vigan. This book can fall in the category of family saga, but it really isn't. The author depicts the lives of a French middle class large family from post WWII to 2000's through 3 generations. Through the narrator, a character, herself an author, the author writes a biography of a family and describes accurately the difficult task of an adult person to remember his childhood, his relationships with his parents through the years, ...more
Agata
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You may go through life without getting justice and acknowledgment for what happened to you, but there will be a price to pay...

This is one of the best books I read in my life.
It's about speaking your truth and finding the voice for those who couldn't.
About stirring things up in places where whole generations made sure everything will be calm and put into place.
About that important troublemaking.
Barbara Nutting
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A completely dysfunctional family - depraved, disgusting, despairing etc. a semi autobiography. So much pain and anguish, I thought the black cloud would never lift and it didn’t. Ms de Vigan continually writes of the death and darkness in her life and she writes very well but now I need something with rainbows and lollipops. 🌈

The cover photograph gets 5 stars - Lucile was a natural beauty.
Agnethe Birkelund
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5/6 stars
Nicole
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book threw me a little simply because it was hard to get my head around the idea that it was a fictionalized account of a real person's life. In the end, I tired of trying to figure out what was real, so I just read it as an auto-biographical account of de Vigan's quest to know and understand her troubled mother. Once I did that, I had a hard time putting the book down. I found myself pulling for de Vigan and her sister as well as for Lucile the more I read. I also found it fascinating to r ...more
Maria
Aug 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this novel Delphine de Vigan writes about her mother. She writes the novel to tell her mother's story and to try to understand her and her choices, addictions, and difficulties in life.
It must have been a very difficult book to write, and during the novel Delphine de Vigan writes a lot about how and why it was so difficult for her.
I'm glad she did write the book though, but as a reader, I would have prefered not to be let so much in on her thoughts during the process. I know it is one of the
...more
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Delphine de Vigan is an award-winning French novelist. She has published several novels for adults. Her breakthrough work was the book No et moi (No and Me) that was awarded the Prix des Libraires (The Booksellers' Prize) in France in 2008.

In 2011, she published a novel Rien ne s'oppose a la nuit (Nothing holds back the night) that deals with a family coping with their mother's bipolar disorder.
...more

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47 likes · 20 comments
“Vous êtes tout les deux les personnes que j'ai le plus aimées au monde et j'ai fait de mon mieux possible, croyez-le.
Serrez bien contre vous vos beaux enfants.
Lucile
PS : [...] Je sais bien que ça va vous faire de la peine mais c'est inéluctable à plus ou moins de temps et je préfère mourir vivante.”
8 likes
“Approcher Lucile, avec toutes les précautions du monde ou à bras raccourcis, c’est aussi approcher les autres, les vivants, au risque d’ailleurs de m’en écarter. À ma sœur, j’ai demandé comme aux autres de me parler de Lucile, de me prêter ses souvenirs.” 3 likes
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