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Who Killed My Father

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,580 ratings  ·  355 reviews
This bracing new nonfiction book by the young superstar Édouard Louis is both a searing j’accuse of the viciously entrenched French class system and a wrenchingly tender love letter to his father.


Who Killed My Father rips into France’s long neglect of the working class and its overt contempt for the poor, accusing the complacent French—at the minimum—of negligent homicide.
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Hardcover, 96 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by New Directions (first published May 3rd 2018)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  3,580 ratings  ·  355 reviews


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Michael
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The third work by Édouard Louis to be translated into English, Who Killed My Father? is a moving, if underdeveloped, tribute to the French author’s father. Across several brief parts Louis swiftly charts the course of his working-class father’s painful life and muses about the distance between the two of them caused by Louis’ queerness and education. The writer’s first two books—The End of Eddy and History of Violence—read as semi-experimental autofiction interested in delving into the nuances o ...more
Henk
Oct 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A loving portrait of the author his sick father, and a scathing indictment of politics that forget the human perspective
For the ruling class, in general, politics is a question of aesthetics: a way of seeing themselves, of seeing the world, of constructing a personality. For us it was life or death.
Édouard Louis tells of his relationship with his working class father, from his own writer (and gay) perspective. The text is short and touching in respect to how it is growing up in a left behind fac
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Travis Foster
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A huge book within a slim 80 pages. Five stars isn’t enough.
Jakob
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you ask the American academic Ruth Gilmore what racism means to her, Édouard Louis tells us, she will answer that racism is to make certain groups of people more susceptible to a premature death.

This outlook sets the tone for Louis' petite book, a story that is both highly personal and political. It recounts personal memories of his father from Louis' own childhood, and reflects on the forces and circumstances that molded his father into the man he became. Many of these episodes paint a rough
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Eric Anderson
Édouard Louis’ voice is so passionate and urgent in how he writes about class and sexuality in relation to his personal experiences. It’s no wonder he’s gained a global audience since the English publication of his debut novel “The End of Eddy” in 2017. Now, at the age of 26, he’s published his third book and I wonder if his productivity is outpacing the power of his ideas. “Who Killed My Father” is categorized as a ‘memoir/essay’ and his inspiration for writing it is based on recent visits to h ...more
Andrew Howdle
This is a book with an identity crisis-- doesn't quite know what it wants to be. It begins as a memoir, except the memories are scattered and never cohere into a description of an interesting relationship. Then there are passages of tense writing that really work, which could have made a short story, but that would not have been publishable as a book. And the closing is a polemic, a denunciation of the ruling class in France that works around a conceit: Louis' father's body versus the body polit ...more
Josh
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Louis returns to his dreary home in France to visit his dying father, who is barely fifty, and well... it's truly haunting. A highly critical essay and a poignant interweaving of a heartbreaking story of father and son, sociology, and intense political criticism which goes far in such a short essay, managing to tackle poverty, homophobia, class wars, and more. Heartbreaking and extremely touching at the same time, Louis has hit a new high with this, and it should be read widely.
Diana
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually finished this book last year, but as with some books that I love so much, I hold off reviewing them because I feel like I can't review it perfectly enough to do it justice. Some books that have made me feel this way are Audre Lorde's Sister Outsider, George Bataille's Eroticism, and this book right here--Edouard Louis's Who Killed My Father.

It's a short book you can finish in a few hours, but so much time & pain has been distilled for these few hours of reading. So much violence has b
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Pauline Van etc.
"Qui a tué mon père" is Edouard Louis' latest book. It is a short book that goes over some stories that were already presented in his first novel "En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule". This new one particularly focuses on his relationship with his father. Despite the hardship between them, the book seems to serve as a reconciliation and is very cathartic.

"Qui a tué mon père" is also a very political book. Louis denounces how various governments have had a negative impact on the health and well being
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Eliza
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Took me about an hour to read this short book, or long essay and i must say it's masterful. I first read an article about it in Libération i think, and it did not disappoint. Looking forward to read the other workds of Édouard Louis.
John Hatley
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In just a few short pages Édouard Louis describes how society, politics, governments -- the "powers that be" -- systematically destroy not just his father, but everyone in the very poorest of social classes. At the same time Louis describes how he and his father gradually achieve a mutual understanding for each other. It is a sad and beautiful book.
Tomas
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a feeling that all major and remembered works of art of the decade (this one or the one to come) will be about class. This will be one of the most important works tackling the subject.
Gonzalo Urrutia
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Brutal, honest, socialist and brilliant, just like everything else written by Edouard.
Megha
I stumbled upon the work of Édouard Louis thanks to #PrideMonth and the conversations around the world regarding class divide. Having not read any of his previous work, especially The End of Eddy (his debut autobiographical novel about growing up gay and poor in France), I dived in with no expectations. And the book hit me hard.

The title is not to be taken literally, but the author tries to talk about the things that were responsible for the death of his father as he sometimes knew him. The boo
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Nicolas Chinardet
Qui a tué mon père is a short book that packs a mighty punch. Written as a one-sided conversation between Louis and his father, this is in fact a love letter from Louis to a man prisoner of poverty and the dictats of expected masculine behaviour. What Louis describes here is very similar to what he writes in En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule.

This is an unconventional approach for a polemic essay, moving away from dry, detached and verbose academic format based as it is on emotional links. But I th
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Varsha Ravi (between.bookends)
Not a single word is wasted in this short novella, or essay if you will. And therein lies the mastery with which Édouard Louis tackles issues ranging from poverty to homophobia, classism to politics, and at it's a very heart, a fragile, troubled and tenuous relationship between a father and son. It's incredibly moving and poignant, heartbreaking at times and this entire essay stands as a euphemism for how small changes in political decisions can have huge implications on the livelihood of people ...more
Katherine
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A moving and eye-opening memoir about family and politics. Stunning.

The fifth star of this rating is earned in the third and final act, when Louis implicates French politicians and corporations that have broken his father. At one point in the memoir, he’s bullied after his Father defends him against an abusive bus driver. His childhood peers at first admire his Father, then look down on young Louis for needing to be rescued. Adult Louis reciprocates by tearing down the walls that were built bet
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Philipp
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, france
Ever read a book that felt like someone punched you in face while walking past?


I am not afraid of repeating myself because what I am writing, what I am saying, does not answer to the standards of literature, but to those of necessity and desperation, to standards of fire.


Very short, very angry, 50% the memoir of a man trying to understand his father, 50% an indictment of neoliberalism.

The first half is all about his father's need for masculinity, his upbringing in a poor and violent family, doom
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R.K. Cowles
2 3/4 stars
Lavinia
If you enjoyed Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, chances are you'll enjoy this book as well. It is written in the 2nd person, but lacks Vuong's poetry (fact, not complaint). What we do have instead is more social and political commentary, with lots of people on the blame list. I admire Louis's sense of urgency, he's honest and articulate, however I found the ending a bit rushed.
Teodora Agarici
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I developed a theory a while ago that never seems to disappoint - short, slim novels are the best novels. Probably because it reminds me of this quote (attributed to both Mark Twain and Blaise Pascal - I guess we'll never know which one was it): "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter."

In other words, don't be fooled by this 84-page long novella/ extended essay. Not a single word is wasted in this beautiful memoir. If I were to be technical, this indeed would be classified as
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Mack Hayden
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, memoir
This one hit me straight in the gut. Rarely have I come across a memoir so heart-wrenching or a political call to action more mobilizing, let alone both in the same set of pages. The fact he manages to accomplish so much in under a hundred pages is all the more impressive. It seems that Louis is something of a rising star of French literature these days and, if this is what he's capable of just three books into his career, I'm very excited to follow his output for the rest of my life. His writin ...more
Madison
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wowie there are some mild bootlickers who are reviewing this book lol.

The tone and analysis is pitch perfect. Louis is perhaps the best of his generation in his ability to develop the viscerally personal as political. It's a masterpiece.
Mark Hiser
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Several months ago our neighborhood book group read and discussed Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance. Many critics and pundits proclaimed that book as providing the explanation to Trump’s election. They said Vance helps us understand the forgotten people of the United States and their reaction to being forgotten.

While it may be true that Vance’s book helps us to intellectually understand a large segment of the U. S. population, it did not always feel emotionally authentic so seldom touched my spiri
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Morgan Miller-Portales
Four years after his debut novel ‘En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule’ (‘The end of Eddy’), Edouard Louis delivers another short but compelling novel on class and the political elite. ‘Qui a tué mon père’ (‘Who killed my father’) is the poignant ode of a gay son to a misunderstood father crushed under the weight of politics and their oft-invisible ramifications. Interweaving sociology, politics – it is near impossible not to be reminded of Zola’s ‘J’accuse’ - , as well as poignant memories in which f ...more
Jeroen
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Louis is saying something very real in this book which needs to be said in this time of faux liberal navel-gazing, which is, ultimately, that poltics is not just about words - the Trump tweets so endlessly analyzed - but about deeds, for instance the deeds of liberal favorite Macron who is shutting out and, indeed, ultimately killing the poor in France.

This book is in a sense a literary companion to Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake. It shows how far and unbridgeable the gap is between the people who
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Eddie Clarke
Forceful and direct. Covering the same territory as The End of Eddy, but far less ‘fictionalised’ and focussing on Louis’ father and how the political history of France has affected his personal situation.
Édouard Louis makes a political argument in experiential and emotional terms - he obviously has a thoroughgoing analytical understanding but chooses to make a direct emotional appeal to the reader.
Jorge
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The pain of being poor, the neglect of the working class, and the complacence of the elites and ruling class. This is heartbreaking and yet shows the truth and the reality of the underprivileged. An indictment of the French class system and the lack of caring and action by the government. Please read this!
Matthew
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tough and raw. If you could make a beautiful poem about ripping out a fingernail- this might be how it goes. So perfectly captures the complex relationship between child and father.
Iamthesword
I have rather ambivalent feelings about this essay. Generally speaking, it consists of two parts. Three quaters of the text are Louis' memories of the often troubled relationship with his father and the life as a working class family in rural France - you can clearly see that he's been a student of Didier Eribon. There are some interesting moments in it and Louis manages to give it a memory-like feeling with his use of language, but the general motive of the young man growing up by wrestling wit ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Could you please combine those books? 3 19 Aug 23, 2018 08:22AM  

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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
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“For the ruling class, in general, politics is a question of aesthetics: a way of seeing themselves, of seeing the world, of constructing a personality. For us it was life or death.” 15 likes
“Among those who have everything, I have never seen a family go to the seashore just to celebrate a political decision, because for them politics changes almost nothing. This is something I realized when I went to live in Paris, far away from you: the ruling class may complain about a left-wing government, they may complain about a right-wing government, but no government ever ruins their digestion, no government ever breaks their backs, no government ever inspires a trip to the beach. Politics never changes their lives, at least not much. What’s strange, too, is that they’re the ones who engage in politics, though it has almost no effect on their lives. For the ruling class, in general, politics is a question of aesthetics: a way of seeing themselves, of seeing the world, of constructing a personality. For us it was life or death.” 11 likes
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