Édouard Louis was born into poverty in northern France, as Eddy Belleguele, in 1992. His autobiographical novel En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule, newly translated into English as The End of Eddy (Harvill Secker), draws an unsparing portrait of the violence, alcoholism, racism and homophobia of the milieu into which he was born, and quickly became a sensational bestseller both in France and throughout Europe. Louis will be in discussion with the novelist Tash Aw.
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A chance encounter on Christmas Eve ends with Edouard Louis, a student at the École Normale Supérieure, taking a stranger back to his apartment. Louis has struggled with the decision to invite the man to share his home and his body, and now, poised on the brink of terrible physical and emotional violence that will have long-standing consequences for both of them, the young men have choices to make. Both have a chance to end the sequence of events that led them to this point: in other words, to flee. But neither does. ‘I believe that each decision made that evening,’ Louis writes in Histoire de la violence, ‘on my part as well as his, rendered all other decisions impossible the very moment afterwards; that each choice destroyed all other possible choices, and that the more he chose, the less free he became.’