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History of Violence by Édouard Louis

This autobiographical novel documents Édouard’s rape at gunpoint. Édouard’s ambivalence toward Reda – the perpetrator – is at the centre of the subtle and complex story. Although Édouard reports him to the police he tries to understand what happened. After analysing the motives of Reda, he realises that Reda is ashamed of his homosexuality. Édouard’s post-traumatic stress triggered from the incident is embodied in obsessive counting, his fear of dark-skinned people (because his rapist was Algerian), and his desire to be ugly. His sister Clara tells some of the story in this novel. The intricate recall Édouard has makes this experience very vivid and painful.

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