“Every morning in the bathroom I would repeat the same phrase to myself over and over again . . . Today I’m really gonna be a tough guy.” Growing up in a poor village in northern France, all Eddy Bellegueule wanted was to be a man in the eyes of his family and neighbors. But from childhood, he was different—“girlish,” intellectually precocious, and attracted to other men.
The End of Eddy captures the violence and desperation of life in a French factory town. It is also a sensitive, universal portrait of boyhood and sexual awakening.
"The Hillbilly Elegy of France . . . The End of Eddy, however, is not just a remarkable ethnography. It is also a mesmerizing story about difference and adolescence, one that is far more realistic than most.”—Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
“Louis' account of growing up gay and poor in a working-class village isn't only a story about France. Just released in a highly readable translation by Michael Lucey, this painfully insightful tale of entrapment and escape could've easily been set in Michigan or West Virginia . . . While Eddy's parents are both vivid characters—Louis has a great ear for their patois—what makes the novel special is the way it expands outward."—John Powers, NPR's Fresh Air
"A bracingly pitiless account of the psychic and physical violence that lies at the root of masculine identity. Louis's remarkably visceral story of growing up queer in working class France quickly transcends its setting precisely because it delivers us into it with such emotional force."—Adam Haslett, author of Imagine Me Gone
"The End of Eddy is lean and poignant and masterfully tells the tale of growing up gay, poor, and bullied.”—Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story
"A seamless, universal portrait of the experience of growing up gay and gradually coming to accept oneself." —Michael Cart, Booklist (starred review)
"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."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reviews from Goodreads
From my childhood I have no happy memories. I don’t mean to say that I never, in all those years, felt any happiness or joy. But suffering is all-consuming: it somehow gets rid of anything that doesn’t fit into its system.