Incest, Christine Angot
by Christine Angot
Archipelago Books, 2017
The narrator is reeling after a tempestuous relationship with another woman. Delirious with love and longing, her thoughts turn increasingly wild, circling back on themselves, until the trauma underlying her pain is exposed. With then naked intimacy of confession, the narrator struggles to put long-repressed experiences into words, words that cut like double-edged swords. She exposes the ambivalence and complexities of desire, her paranoia, her self contempt and self-righteousness and, at the core of it all, incest.
Incest dares its readers to contront a taboo we too rarely acknowledge.
Christine Angot is one of the most controversial authors writing in France. today. Her novels explore a variety of taboo topics including homosexuality, incest, and sexual violence, and have continually blurred the line between autobiography and fiction.
Praise for Incest
"Given Angot's antagonism toward conventional syntax, the English translation, by Tess Lewis, is a feat of perspicuity." The New Yorker
'Incest is a thrilling book. It's a formally daring and passionate performance of the depths of human self-loathing, and the sufferings of attachment. It cut deep inside me with its truths. In every moment of reading it, I both wanted to keep reading it and wanted to write. I don't think I will ever forget this book.' Sheila Heti
New & Noteworthy: 'A sensation in France, this novel in the form of a wild confession of a life filled with trauma also recounts the narrator's incestuous relationship with her father.' NY Times ,
'In my view, the best translators are dedicated practitioners in intuition, and Tess Lewis is one such translator. Reading Incest, it feels as though Angot, so very French, is speaking directly in English.' Tsipi Keller, Asymptote
“At its core, Incest is a true testament to the subversive power of literature, in that it transmutes the violation of incest into connection with the reader. It the ultimate narrative and biographical paradox, it makes redemptive the thing that destroyed her.” Elizabeth Baird, The Millions
'Auto-fiction at its extreme does not aspire here to shock, but to give literature back its dangerous function and return to it its dignity.' Gérard Meudal
'Christine Angot's book triggered both lauding and severe criticism, creating a work worth talking about; shedding light on issues that are not easily comprehensible--taboos--not from the position of an expert but from her own particularity, her own manner of writing.' Giorgos Kassiteridis, Asymptote
'It is clear that Christine Angot has won, because we are going to be thinking for a long time about this book. Because it will need a long study written about it to examine all its hypotheses and contradictions, to understand the questions it puts forward, study its passion, disgust, insanity, the dream of controlled incest, the fantasy of incest fulfilled. ... What's at play in the work of Angot, in her force, her violence, is an idea of literature as a means of escaping from every collective, from all policing, .. to think and write in one's singularity.' Josyane Savigneau, Le Monde