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The End of Eddy
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2018 TOB Shortlist Books > The End of Eddy

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Amy (asawatzky) | 1656 comments so let's talk about it....

Kristina (kristina3880) | 35 comments This is not a happy book. I went online to see if this was a true memoir. I found an interview of the author talking about the book. It is an autobiography, but it feels like fiction writing on the way the book flows. I don't know how to describe it. So, I watched this interview and I loved that the interviewer was Tash Aw. They both talked about the working class in their countries where books do not portray this class of people. This interview gave me a whole new appreciation of the book. This is a perfect example on how much I love the tournament of books. I would have never read this book.

The interview is on youtube at The London Bookshop if anyone is interested.

Kristin-Leigh (okrysmastree) | 58 comments I love the way the structure of the book flows - I noticed a couple of times the author jumped us back into the past to move forward focusing on a different thread, and it worked very well.

I'll admit I was shocked to see the author portrait at the end and the occasional cell phone reference - this book "feels" like it should've been written by someone decades older. It's a rude awakening to be reminded how current these issues are.

message 4: by Ace (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ace (aceonroam) There is a lot to discuss in this short book, poverty and ignorance, bullying. A very hard read for me.

message 5: by Ruthiella (last edited Jan 07, 2018 08:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ruthiella | 340 comments The End of Eddy might may a good comparison to The Animators in its mix of fact and fiction and the question of how much of a writer’s “real life” may be appropriated for art.

I found this an easy book to read in terms of the narrative but difficult as other readers have noted above due to the subject matter. It reminded me also a bit of an earlier contender, Hill William because of its depiction of childhood abuse, poverty and the fact that much of it (but how much) appears to be autobiographical.

message 6: by Jan (new) - rated it 1 star

Jan (janrowell) | 1059 comments I'll go ahead and out myself as someone who just didn't warm to this book. I'm feeling a bit defensive and want to add that I'm fine with the themes of poverty, dysfunction, abuse and gay sex -- Hill William was a 5-star read for me, and I loved What Belongs to You. But here, although I felt compassion for the author/protagonist, and I'm sure the current administration and six volumes of Karl Ove Knausgaard have stunted my ability to open my heart to white males making claims on my attention, there seemed to be so little artistry to this book that it just felt...sordid?

Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 602 comments I feel like reading this so soon after The Heart's Invisible Furies makes it impossible for me not to compare the two. Autobiographical discussion aside, this is a pretty narrow slice of life in comparison. Boyne does a better job at locating his story in a specific time period. I agree with those that day the Louis felt like it was earlier in time, making the modern day connections feel out of place. For how modern it is, there seems to be little access to information Eddy could use, but if he has internet (which he mentions using at school) then he has access... Seemed like a weird thing to leave out. Many an outsider teen has survived a small town by learning or connecting online, particularly someone born in 1992! I was born in 1978 and that's how I survived so....

I'm glad the Eddy of this book got out of his small town but it just made me think about the boys who don't. That context is even more sorrowful than the book itself, at least for me. It made me think of one of my neighbors and I had to set the book aside for a while (he was bullied at home, on the bus,and at school, and took his own life... Those of us aware of it knew he'd be okay if he got past high school but he didn't.)

I know this is translated from the French but it reads like an Irish novel to me, maybe the factory towns, fear of outsiders, alcohol abuse, large families and poverty.

Rosie Morley (rosiemorley) | 40 comments I'm halfway through this and really, really struggling with it.

I feel for Eddy and, like Jan above, I don't have a problem with the themes — I just can't stand the style of storytelling, which feels really repetitive (how many times have I read that something is a point of pride for his mother?). It doesn't feel like it's going anywhere — like I've been reading about the same things for 100 pages and there's been no progression of any characters or of the story. I can see that maybe that's the point of the book, but it makes for a difficult read.

I'm going to try to persevere, mostly because it's so short, but I can't see myself enjoying it.

Gwendolyn | 159 comments I just finished this, and I liked it overall. I could sense the protagonist’s deep alienation from his family and peers. The book felt very much like a memoir, though, and not a novel. As a memoir, it is heartbreaking, gritty and affecting. As a novel, though, it seems a little inartful. The prose is very straightforward and not at all remarkable. I know this is a translation, but I’m guessing the original language is also simple and direct. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Anyway, I expect a little more from a novel than I expect from a memoir, and this book seemed to deliver a memoir.

message 10: by Bob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob Lopez | 362 comments I liked the ending of the book, seemed hopeful, and I saw the author published another book since this...anyone know if it's a sequel?

message 11: by Mo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mo (mohull) | 11 comments I really really really loved this book.
It was very moving, and so applicable to the current political situation we find ourselves (even down to #metoo). I’m going to put on my list those books mentioned above, that others have compared it to. I am so thankful to the Tournament of Books for exposing me to this book.

Janet (justjanet) | 635 comments Count me in the "I really liked it" is my review which is about all I have to say about it.

I read this for the Tournament of Books....definitely not something I would ordinarily pick up. It is a short novel so I read it in one sitting. It is about a young boy's coming of age in rural France and is a work in translation so I always wonder what nuances are missed, however I thought it was well done.

Eddy is a misfit, not only because he is gay (and possibly also transgender) but because he is smart and talented in a town where that is not cool. In some ways it reminded me of my own growing up years in small town Ohio...I was always longing to escape.

Coming as it did on the heels of my reading This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, it was interesting to compare the experience of transgender in France vs. the United States and with unenlightened parenting vs. supportive parenting.

I've been to France a couple of times as a tourist, and probably not surprisingly, I have not seen the seamy side of life there. Eddy's father is an Archie Bunker type character without the heart of gold. I honestly had no idea such bigotry and macho culture existed there....I rather like my fantasy of French culture and it hurts to be disabused of my notions but probably long overdue.

Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 94 comments I'm not finished with this one yet, but it is really growing on me; I am becoming attached not just to Eddy but to the people in his family, even though they often behave so terribly to him and to one another.

message 14: by Bob (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob Lopez | 362 comments Hey, everyone, just learned of a new book by Edouard Louis that has been translated, History of Violence, trans. by Lorin Stein (I presume before he had to step down from the Paris Review). Has a release date of June 18:

Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 94 comments I have finally sat down to write a review of this one and I am suprised by how solidly it is staying with me and how tenderly I feel towards it. I hope it does very well in the tournament, as I'm looking forward to a lot of discussion!

Heather (hlynhart) | 305 comments I just finished it and I really liked it. But, I mean, a novel? Not a memoir? Don't really understand that one.

Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 94 comments Louis is working in the genre of autofiction, which is its own strange, mostly French thing -- I do not know a lot about it, but I would guess his work is in conversation with other members of the genre. This New Yorker article touches on it briefly:

My understanding is that autofiction is most often real facts, made fictional by the use of language -- language which is not trying to be transparent or realistic, but is more playful & experimental. I don't know how this particular book qualifies in that regard, both due to reading it in translation & because I haven't read any of the other French autofiction authors to really understand what they're doing.

message 18: by Melanie (last edited Feb 14, 2018 11:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments I miss having ebooks when I need the search function! Who is Tristan??

This took me way longer to read than the length would indicate. I liked the oblique way Eddy was observing his family / community observing him, but agree there was a good bit of repeated detail that didn’t add to the narrative. I got more of the weight and flavor of Eddy’s life out of side stories about cousins jailed and uncles drunk than I did from once again stating that they were all at the phone booth or shed or hall outside the library. Those cycles all felt established and present throughout, like the dad on the couch and the TVs and the mother’s complaints.

I really liked a lot of this (but damn it was grim). I wish it had spiraled in more tightly in places, and had a bigger / clearer statement.

message 19: by Ace (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ace (aceonroam) Melanie wrote: "I miss having ebooks when I need the search function! Who is Tristan??

This took me way longer to read Than the length would indicate. I liked the oblique way Eddy was observing his family / commu..."

Melanie, I looked this up on the ebook and the name Tristan is only mentioned the once at the end. I assumed it was one of the 2 bullies from the hallway. Forgiven due to his acting fame and now that they are at uni ( they are all cool kids now?) homosexuality is acceptable? Like I said, I made this assumption but its a good question!

Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments Ace wrote: "I looked this up on the ebook and the name Tristan is only mentioned the once at the end."

Thank you!

I assumed that it was the red-headed bully, but was afraid I was missing something.

Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 94 comments I never read it as being one of the boys from his past -- that's a fascinating idea! I read the use of the name as signalling this is someone Eddy had thought of as a friend, so the book ends on a moment of 'Here I am, in this new school with these boys with whom I thought I was fitting in , and look, it's all starting over again.'

Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 451 comments I took Tristan to just be one of the boys he goes to school with. The meaningfulness of that brief interaction was that he'd reached a place where routine gay slurs could no longer hurt him.

This book grew on me. I liked the hopefulness of it all. He endured and got out and now lives a life apart from that horrible place he began.

I will say, this is the first book I've ever read where I gagged while reading it.

message 23: by Ace (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ace (aceonroam) Alison wrote: "
I will say, this is the first book I've ever read where I gagged while reading it. ..."

I had to skip that bit.

message 24: by Eric (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eric | 90 comments I just started it. My first impression is that Americans often think of the French as being less bigoted than Americans. I think the French also feel the same way about themselves. So it's both reassuring (in an awful way - maybe we Ugly Americans aren't as ugly in comparison as we're made out to be) and appalling that they can be every bit as redneck-ish as us.

Janet (justjanet) | 635 comments Eric wrote: "I just started it. My first impression is that Americans often think of the French as being less bigoted than Americans. I think the French also feel the same way about themselves. So it's both rea..."

My cousin, the gun nut, told me he was going on a hunting expedition in France. Initially I told him that wasn't a good idea because France doesn't tolerate rednecks...then I read this book and had to change my tune. I think you may find more differences between city dwellers and rural folks in both places than with their counterparts in other countries.

message 26: by Eric (last edited Mar 04, 2018 05:52AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eric | 90 comments I'm about halfway through it. In many ways, it reminds me of Hillbilly Elegy A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance . But whereas Vance loves his family despite their flaws, and shows undertstanding of the culture of poverty they can't seem to escape, Edouard just dumps on his family. There's a moment where his father tells him he loves him, and he shrugs it off as "incestuous". I find this book very self-pitying and mean-spirited.

Kelly | 28 comments This book was a total wash for me. The writing was not engaging (no idea how much of that is due to translation) and autofiction is not generally my thing, I guess. The author was too impersonal about himself, and I wasn't so much rooting for him as just generally disturbed by everyone. I wish he'd explored the relationship with his parents some more, I thought their strange mix of support and holding him back, of love and loathing, were some of the best parts, but the author just glossed over them.

An 18 year old girl wanted to date a 13 year old boy? The 11-year old kids engaging in some serious stuff in the shed? None of it was intriguing so much as a mix of disturbing and unbelievable to me.

It also felt to me like it should have been set 30 or 40 years ago, not in the 2000s. Everything just seemed a little off, the isolation and ignorance a little over-exaggerated.

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