Change: A Novel (Hardcover)

Change: A Novel By Édouard Louis, John Lambert (Translated by) Cover Image

Change: A Novel (Hardcover)

By Édouard Louis, John Lambert (Translated by)


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An autobiographical novel from Édouard Louis, hailed as one of the most important voices of his generation—about social class, transformation, and the perils of leaving the past behind.

One question took center stage in my life, it focused all of my thoughts and occupied every moment when I was alone with myself: how could I get this revenge, by what means? I tried everything.

Édouard Louis longs for a life beyond the poverty, discrimination, and violence in his working-class hometown—so he sets out for school in Amiens, and, later, university in Paris. He sheds the provincial “Eddy” for an elegant new name, determined to eradicate every aspect of his past. He reads incessantly; he dines with aristocrats; he spends nights with millionaires and drug-dealers alike. Everything he does is motivated by a single obsession: to become someone else. At once harrowing and profound, Change is not just a personal odyssey, a story of dreams and of “the beautiful violence of being torn away,” but a vividly rendered portrait of a society divided by class, power, and inequality.

Édouard Louis is the author of The End of Eddy, History of Violence, and Who Killed My Father, and the editor of a book on the social scientist Pierre Bourdieu. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Freeman’s. His books have been translated into thirty languages and have made him one of the most celebrated writers of his generation worldwide.

John Lambert has translated Monsieur, Reticence, and Self-Portrait Abroad by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, as well as Emmanuel Carrère’s Limonov. He lives in Nantes with his wife and three children.

Product Details ISBN: 9780374606800
ISBN-10: 0374606803
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English

“Poetic, edgy charm . . . Anyone who has ever felt unseen will understand what he means when he writes of ‘the beautiful violence of being torn away, of having a chance at freedom’ and will savor this candid novel.”
—Michael Magras, Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“[As] Louis continues to probe the past under the ever-changing lenses of the present, his metamorphosis will always be a work in progress. Change is the driver that forces him to find new critical perspectives on the world—and then confront his readers with them.”
—Charles Arrowsmith, The Washington Post

“[Louis] writes against the usual mobility narrative of individual resilience, instead thanking, and apologizing to, those who helped him and those he left behind.”
—Madeline Crum, The Brooklyn Rail

"Change is a brilliant novel that, like its narrator, engages in the impossible task of trying to be two things at once—it even opens with two prologues. Though a work of fiction, Louis hand-stitches created scenes with memoiristic passages, even including actual photographs, all while reminding the reader that the author is revising his own past."
—Stephen Patrick Bell, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Louis’ oeuvre, and Change in particular, offers a pointed response by demonstrating the value of writing about one’s personal experiences. By the end of the book, Louis has achieved a deeper understanding of himself, entirely facilitated by his narrative reorganization of his past. In his characteristically inimitable manner, Louis seems to be asking his readers to consider the radical notion that their memories are theirs to use as they please.”
—Tope Folarin, The Atlantic

“[Louis is] one of the most important, politically vital and morally bracing writers of his generation . . . The book ends not with triumph, but on a note of exhaustion and resignation. It is this that gives Change its lasting power: the realisation that a hero’s journey only makes sense if the hero has a home to return to . . . How lucky we are to have him, a writer who relentlessly chronicles the type of lives that are lived by so many but rendered by so few.”
—Keiran Goddard, The Guardian

“This fast page-turner will stir emotions and quicken heartbeats as Eddy creates his ideal self-image.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“[Louis] is unafraid to reveal his own casual nastiness towards his parents and his friends. That is what makes the new novel so compelling – it is less a misery memoir and more The Talented Mr. Ripley as told by Ripley himself.”
—Andrew Hussey, The Guardian

A breathless account . . . There’s the bracing directness of Louis’s prose, translated into English by John Lambert; the fitful structure, crammed with self-conscious annotations and swift shifts in form; the unsparing examination of poverty and extreme privilege in modern France; [and] the rendering of an appetite for better, different, more that can no longer reasonably be satisfied. Here, self-invention is an act of brutal violence with no discernable survivors.
—Marley Marius, Vogue (Best Books of 2024 So Far)

“Louis’ storytelling, in Lambert’s deft translation, is clear and intellectually robust but captures a tone of fear and anxiety; what he often calls ‘revenge,’ even on a family that might deserve it, is a corrosive feeling. A sharp chronicle of status climbing and its consequences.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“With frank prose and staggering insights, Louis makes the story of his metamorphosis feel vital and alive. This is irresistible.”
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“Édouard Louis is a master in the poetics of juxtaposition, elucidating the hostile and the intimate, the murky and the pure, the vulnerable and the resilient, the changeable and unchangeable of the world with his brilliant and preternatural intelligence. Change is a poignant and compelling read!”
—Yiyun Li, author of Wednesday’s Child

“I feel so lucky to be living and writing at the same time as Édouard Louis. Reading the urgent, unspooling prose of Change—Louis’s latest account of a motley life lived so far—fills me with admiration and inspiration, as well as renewed faith in writing itself, and the value of paying persistent, pellucid attention to our relations, desires, histories, and selves.”
—Maggie Nelson, author of On Freedom