STARRED REVIEW
November 2016

A profound message from Paris

By Antoine Leiris
On November 13, 2015, the world watched with shock and sorrow as terror erupted at several sites in Paris, including the Bataclan Theater where at least 89 people were killed. Among the dead was Hélène Muyal-Leiris, whose husband, Antoine Leiris, was at home watching their 17-month-old son. Leiris soon posted a Facebook message to the attackers that went viral, beginning, “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.”
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On November 13, 2015, the world watched with shock and sorrow as terror erupted at several sites in Paris, including the Bataclan Theater where at least 89 people were killed. Among the dead was Hélène Muyal-Leiris, whose husband, Antoine Leiris, was at home watching their 17-month-old son. Leiris soon posted a Facebook message to the attackers that went viral, beginning, “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.”

You Will Not Have My Hate is his account of the immediate days after the attack as he struggled to make sense of his loss. Leiris’ slim memoir is a portrait of raw grief, of trying to keep one’s head above water in a world that no longer makes sense. His son, Melvil, became an anchor amid the tragedy, providing a need for daily routine that kept his father moving forward. The author describes the heartbreak of seeing his wife one last time in the mortuary, the beauty of his son’s innocent smile, and how he sat down at his computer one afternoon to write his famous post: “House, lunch, diaper, pajamas, nap, computer. The words continue to arrive. They come on their own, considered, weighed, but without me having to summon them. They come to me.”

His account ends with Hélène’s funeral and his subsequent visit to her grave with his toddler, as they bravely “go on living alone, without the aid of the star to whom they swore allegiance.”

The book reaffirms Leiris’ profound message that he will raise his son to “defy [the attackers] by being happy and free. Because [they] will not have his hate either.”

 

This article was originally published in the November 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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You Will Not Have My Hate

You Will Not Have My Hate

By Antoine Leiris
Penguin Press
ISBN 9780735222113

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