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

History of Violence: A Novel

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  3,896 ratings  ·  376 reviews
History of Violence is international bestselling French author Edouard Louis’s autobiographical audiobook about surviving a shocking sexual assault and coping with the post-traumatic stress disorder of its aftermath.

On Christmas Eve 2012, in Paris, the novelist Édouard Louis was raped and almost murdered by a man he had just met. This act of violence left Louis shatter
...more
Audio CD
Published July 17th 2018 by Macmillan Audio (first published January 7th 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,896 ratings  ·  376 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of History of Violence: A Novel
Michael
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, recs
Offering social commentary that's incisive than that of The End of Eddy, while still echoing the debut novel's lurid descriptions and transgressive themes, History of Violence stitches together multiple accounts of the author's rape on Christmas Eve in 2012. The fast-moving work of autofiction examines the ways in which the form and meaning of the stories of survivors of sexual violence change depending on who recounts them and in what context.
Meike
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, france
Now Shortlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award 2020
In this autobiographical novel, Édouard Louis tells the story of how he was assaulted, raped and almost strangled to death and the repercussions of this experience. It's already brave to share a story like that, but Louis goes even further by radically exposing and questioning every aspect of his behavior and the behavior of the aggressor, and by contrasting his own thoughts with those of his sister (who holds very different opinion
...more
Jim Coughenour
I admired The End of Eddy but this book left me unmoved, cold. It’s the same story retold – a traumatic rape instead of a traumatic childhood – there’s the same analytical, vaguely masochistic intelligence, the same dead voice, echoed here by the narrator’s sister who recounts the story like a character in a play, delivering a monologue so staged and tedious it strains credulity. (The narrator hides behind a door, eavesdropping, commenting on the commentary, providing the book with its spare mom ...more
Jakub
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A harrowing depiction of rape and violence in general - of how it influences an individual in the short and long run. Louis does not use cheap tricks but has a great eye for detail. But it all gets muddled up in childhood stories, political themes and other marginally connected elements. And the protagonist was just so hard to like.
Phee
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Not a nice topic to read about but important all the same. The writing style was clever and impactful. Most of this book is told as the Édouard listens in on his sister, telling her husband, the story of Édouard's rape. Throughout her 'retelling' he corrects her in his head and he tells the reader how it all really happened. As I said. Very clever.

It's seems strange to say I 'enjoyed' a book about rape but I don't really know how else to explain it.
If you are concerned about reading something
...more
Will
3.5, rounded down.
Andrew Howdle
On its release in 2016, Edmund White read the original text and subsequently reviewed its English version in 2018 (June, hardback). His review for The Guardian was wholly complimentary. Interesting in that Louis clearly knows the work of White and shares White's interest in autobiography. I didn't have the same positive response, having read the book on the strength of White's recommendation.

In a fascinating dialogue between Taia and Louis in The Paris Review , both outsiders, both authors who
...more
Joanka
I find History of Violence to be an important book. Important as it talks about important topics and because in my opinion it gives a clear illustration of how the world looks like at this moment in regard to so many themes: rape as such, victim complex, immigrants, homosexuality, poverty… As expected it was neither pleasant nor easy to read but it was a great read nonetheless. I found many parts simply amazing, so honest and true, so right… Especially when Louis writes about his emotions and be ...more
Myles
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointment, in need of an editor. Like The End of Eddy, Louis uses the novel to sell out his family and rag on the ugliness of life in working class Picardie (and Paris)-- a world he's left behind. Last time, he showed us how personal promise can wilt in a hostile environment. Now that he's in Paris, with his own apartment and all the trappings of bourgeois life (high end electronics, hardcover books, all the clothes he could want), Louis just comes off like he's settling scores. He's still ...more
Mark Hiser
I am hidden on the other side of the door, I listen, and she says that several hours after what the copy of the report I keep twice-folded in my drawer calls the attempted homicide, and which I call the same thing for lack of a better word, since no other term is more appropriate for what happened, which means I always have the anxious nagging feeling that my story, whether told by me or whomever else, begins with a falsehood, I left my apartment and went downstairs.


There is no doubt in my mind
...more
Tiffany
It's not as impressive as I thought it would.
Heather
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
🌳 * Edouard Louis follows up his debut The End of Eddy with another auto-fiction novel. In this he recounts his experience of being a victim of a brutal sexual assault and attempted murder. He describes the subsequent and immediate after effects of an assault and the way a victim communicates his experience with those around them. Particularly moving was his account of his speaking mania, wherein he could not stop repeating the story of his trauma, and the manner in which his assault made him is ...more
Paris (parisperusing)
DNF'ing (for now). Here's why: It's been two whole days...

I was thoroughly impressed with Who Killed My Father, the author's latest memoir, but there was something intolerable about this one. Not because of the subject matter, which deals with rape; I knew I could get past that — but the repetition and downtrodden nature of this book was something totally different. In some ways, this book seemed to lack integrity, the story felt immobile and read like a diatribe in many parts. I'm still fresh t
...more
Allan
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Critically acclaimed, and understandably so. Captures the reaction to the horrible events portrayed in a chillingly realistic way.
Eric Sasson
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid 4+. This book will be out in the States in June. To me, this is a far better book than Louis's previous End of Eddy. That book felt ordinary and familiar, and while the writing was solid I didn't feel the book illuminated anything new. History of Violence is far more raw, and strangely, since both books are auto fictional, feels both far more personal and somehow much more like a novel than End of Eddy. By including the sister's POV along with his meticulously detailed own, Louis manages ...more
Harry McDonald
I mean what the hell are you meant to say about a book like this.

I thought the translation was better than The End of Eddy? That's something.

History of Violence is dense and difficult not least because of the subject matter, but also because the way Louis has structured the book, every sentence could well funnel back into the moment of extreme violence. You read the whole thing with a knot in your stomach.
Steven
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dark, refracted, and compassionate novel that vividly explores the complex inner life, history, and shame of its narrator, deserving of all its praise.
Richard Newton
Edouard Louis's book explores the experience of a rape. In this case male rape - and that exploration covers both the act itself, the experience and reticence of the victim to involve the police, the reaction of friends and relatives, and the mixed feelings of the victim. It is a deep and at times rather profound read.

As with his previous book, The End of Eddy, there is a lack of clarity whether this is fiction or non-fiction. The main character has the same name as the author, and at one point
...more
Morgan M. Page
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Édouard Louis' second autofiction, History of Violence, is a grim and incisive examination of his hook up turned assault at gunpoint on Christmas Eve 2012. Louis writes of himself standing behind a door, listening to his sister deliver a book-length monologue to her silent husband on Louis' assault and the events that followed, with the author-survivor offering the readers occasional commentary and corrections. This stylistic device lets the book drift back and forth through time and place in a ...more
Josephine Quealy
If I was a wanker- Okay, I mean, I’m a bit of a wanker, I know. We all have a bit of wankerism - or, at the bare minimum, the capacity for wankerosity - in us, after all. But if I was that kind of wanker, you know the kind, the kind we obviously aren’t, then I’d say something about how this is a necessary book.

Now you know the kind of wanker I’m talking about. The kind that calls books ‘necessary’.

I mean, I’m not going to run around thrusting copies of this tome into people’s hands, promising th
...more
Filip
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Poor choices, with subsequent self-pity and arrogance, leading to poor book. Such is the author's egotism, I'm almost surprised that there isn't an Instagram album with OMGOMG captions to go with it. I liked his first book, when he was still Eddy Bellegueule. But it now becomes obvious that there is little substance beyond the initial coming-of-age tale.
b aaron talbot
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this review will sound more complicated than it is, so bear with me.

an incredible book about sexual assault, guilt, trauma, immigration, ownership of your own story, and more.

the fantastically layered narrative replicates all the ways louis deals with and talks about the events. the book starts out with louis listening to his sister (clara) tell her husband about what happened to louis. and as we listen to louis listen to his sister tell his story, he then interrupts the narrative to tell the st
...more
Josh
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How does one rate a confessional piece? Do I judge it by the way it was written, rather than the material inside? The clear answer is, duh Josh, you judge by the way it was written; on that that, this book is superb.

The most interesting part of reading this memoir of a brutal rape is the way that the book reaches into your understanding. We don’t just follow the rapist and the victim, we shine light on the rapist’s family, Louis’s childhood neighbors, and his family. Under that light is the stor
...more
Ben
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-bookshelf
3.75/5 - I have a feeling this one will reverberate inside my head for some time. Eduoard has an exceptional voice in the story: at times fragile, urgent, wistful, and petulant. He's an embodiment of doubts, insecurities, whims, and stories. Ultimately, he's just like us. I wanted to wrap him up in my arms, and then smack him upside the head. I knew the subject matter (rape) would not be an easy read, and it can't be. I was enthralled by Louis's first novel (End of Eddy) enough to consider readi ...more
Tomas
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
when is a book not a book?
Nev
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqiap, 2018
This book confused me. Even before I started reading it I was confused. Some sites referred to it as non-fiction while others said it was an autobiographical novel. I came later to realize that it’s a fictionalized book about an event that actually happened in the author’s life… But it’s pretty odd that some places are calling it non-fiction while others call it fiction.

The book is about Édouard Louis’ experience being raped and almost murdered on Christmas Eve in 2012 and how that event impacte
...more
Tom
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

More than violence, this autobiographical novel is a history of the shameless narcissism of the human soul, obsessed with its own curiosities. That makes it sound like I didn't enjoy it; I did, precisely because it doesn't shy away from these unsavoury details, both in the personality of the protagonist and those around him, as he tries to make sense of the brutal rape and attempted homicide (but was it attempted homicide?) that has dissolved his sense of himself and the world.

Louis places a la
...more
Donna Hines
Edouard Louis was raped and murdered by a man he just met.
The victim is both a protagonist and a narrator in History of Violence.
The accounts set forth show just how easy it's to be led astray in hopes of finding love.
This book was not really a thriller more of a reality piece that was cold and disconnected told by the sister's accounts to the action.
It felt like a stage performance without any real connection to the readers and for me it missed the mark.
This apparently was a huge sensation abro
...more
Gochrisgo
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is serious literary skill brought to a seriously difficult topic: the rape and attempted murder of a young gay man. The story is largely told through the victim overhearing his sister telling her husband what happened. The frame can make this short book a more difficult read, but I thought wrestling through this frame was amazing. It shows how major crime victims surrender their own story in addition to their bodies and material possessions. The novelist uses very precise language to ...more
Jo
A young man hurrying home with his Christmas gifts is accosted by another young man. He takes him home for the night, a night that culminates in rape and violence. As the young man recounts what happened, the story explores what possibles can lead someone to violence. I found this a little confusing at times as it wasn't always clear who was narrating certain sections. It does explore some serious themes though such as the dangers to the LGBT community, violence, racism and immigration.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ei kertonut katuvansa
  • Returning to Reims
  • Kaikki kadonneet
  • Mitä männyt näkevät
  • Kaikki elämästä(ni)
  • Kuunpäivän kirjeet
  • Meiltähän tämä käy
  • Tuhkaan piirretty maa
  • Eunukki
  • Jussi Seppänen
  • I slutet borde jag dö
  • Nainen joka rakasti hyönteisiä
  • Rajamaa
  • Maggie ja minä
  • Jane / Punaiset osat
  • Linjen
  • Korkeintaan vähän väsynyt
  • Maailman kaunein sana
See similar books…
895 followers
Édouard Louis is a French writer born October 30, 1992. Édouard Louis, born Eddy Bellegueule, grew up in Hallencourt (Somme) before entering theater class at the Lycée Madeleine Michelis in Amiens. From 2008 to 2010 he was a delegate of the Amiens Academy to the National Council for High School Life, then studied history at the University of Picardy.

From 2011, he is pursuing sociology studies at t
...more

Related Articles

This June, as we observe LGBTQ Pride—the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities—we...
189 likes · 71 comments
“The things we remember most clearly are always those that bring us shame.” 8 likes
“People always think their own lives are so fascinating, and yes they realize everyone else thinks the same, but still they tell themselves that everyone else is wrong and they’re right.” 2 likes
More quotes…