One night last winter, Antoine Leiris was at home looking after his son while his wife, Hélène, was at a concert with friends. Suddenly he started receiving text messages asking if he was ok. Turning on the TV, Antoine watched the terrorist attacks in Paris unfolding around him and tried to call Hélène. She didn’t answer. That night Hélène was killed, along with 88 other people, at the Bataclan Theatre..
My thoughts and review
This is a very powerful book written with such intensity by Antoine Leiris and is the outpouring of one man’s grief for his lost partner Hélène, the mother of their small seventeen month old son, who was killed by terrorists in the Bataclan theatre in Paris on the 13th of November 2015
I doubt if any of us will ever forget that terrible night in Paris and I remember reading the letter on Facebook written at the time by Antoine Leiris titled You Will Not Have My Hate. The letter subsequently went viral across the world.
“..On Friday night, you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hate…”
Antoine Leiris started writing this book the day after he posted the letter to Facebook, whenever his son was in nursery. It is stark horrible grief that is hard to read but compelling
This is a short book, only 99 pages long and I read it all in one sitting. Well written in a hauntingly beautiful prose, originally in French but I doubt if anything has been lost in translation.
The author writes not only of his own loss but also that of his son now growing up without a mother.
At his son’s nursery the other mothers organised a rota to give home cooked soup or puréed food in Tupperware containers for them to take home.
Without a word from me, the nursery mothers got together to ensure that, every day, Melvil ate meals made with a mama’s love.
This book will stay with me for a long time.