14 June, 2021

Waist-Deep Mud At The Somme

Edouard Louis’s brutalising in his rough, provincial France has a direct connect to its right-wing rage. This is not charmingly evocative, but clinical.

Waist-Deep Mud At The Somme

“But for me, because I couldn’t be one of them, I had to reject that whole world. The smoke was unbreathable because of the beatings; the hunger was unbearable because of my fat­her’s hatred. I had to get away.”

The End Of Eddy launched the beginning of Edouard Louis’s status as Paris’s media darling. As in this autobiography, he was born Eddy Belleguelle (it means cute-face)—a name he legally changed five years ago. Success came early to Louis. He was 19 when he wrote this, and 21 when it was published; 3,00,000 copies were sold. It was translated into 20 languages. The threat of a National Front victory made readers latch on to this bestseller to explain why blue-collar chauvinists mistakenly felt Marine Le Pen was the only one who listened to them, and to understand the self-des­tructive rage in villages like Hallencourt in Picardy (the book’s setting) with its closed factories and dropouts. Louis wrote a front-page ‘leftist manifesto’ in Le Monde to staunch a sweep by the right....

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