A Woman’s Battles and Transformations

A Woman’s Battles and Transformations

Summary

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Everything started with a photo. To see her free, hurtling fulsomely towards the future, made me think back to the life she shared with my father. Seeing the photo reminded me that those twenty years of devastation were not anything natural but were the result of external forces - society, masculinity, my father - and that things could have been otherwise.


One day, Édouard Louis finds a photograph of his mother from twenty years ago. A picture of a happy young woman, full of hopes and dreams. Growing up, Édouard only knew his mother's sadness, as she found herself trapped in the humdrum life of a housewife, and her struggles against the dominant world of men. What happened in those years since the photo was taken?

Then, at the age of forty-five, his mother frees herself from this oppression. She leaves her husband and her old life behind, to start a new one in Paris.

A Woman's Battles and Transformations is Édouard Louis's most tender book yet. It reckons with the cruel systems that govern our lives, with politics and power - and with the possibility of escape. It is an exquisite and loving portrait of a mother, and an honouring of her self-discovery and liberation as she chooses to live on her own terms.

Translated from the French by Tash Aw

'Édouard Louis is one of the most important literary voices of his generation' Guardian

© Édouard Louis 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022

Reviews

  • Poetic, tender, joyous.
    Guardian

About the author

Édouard Louis

Édouard Louis is the author of The End of Eddy, History of Violence, Who Killed My Father and A Woman's Battles and Transformations, and the editor of a book on the social scientist Pierre Bourdieu. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, making him one of the most celebrated writers of his generation worldwide.
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