cover image The End of Eddy

The End of Eddy

Edouard Louis, trans. from the French by Michael Lucey. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-374-26665-3

In this excellent autobiographical novel, a middle school boy struggles to forge an identity in a French industrial town hostile in every way to his homosexuality. Beset on all sides by violent bullying, verbal ridicule, and a lack of familial support, Eddy Bellegueule has devoted himself, despite his high voice and effeminate mannerisms, to becoming a “tough guy” like his unemployed father. A series of heartbreaking setbacks occurs, including two failed relationships with women, which culminates with Eddy’s mother discovering him in a compromising sexual situation. The story finally leads to a powerful farewell scene between Eddy and his father, a momentary demonstration of devotion inextricable from the years of pain that the man has caused the boy. Already translated into 20 languages, this concise novel adroitly captures the downstream effects of reactionary rural culture, heightened by the rise of hard-right ideology and the destabilization of the working class in contemporary Europe, granting its reader an extraordinary portrait of trauma and escape. Agent: Jacqueline Ko, the Wylie Agency. (May)