You Will Not Have My Hate

With language as beautiful as the life that was taken from him, journalist Antoine Leiris shares his survivor's story--a story of pain and fear, of memories and dreams, of determination and love. On November 13, 2015, his wife was gunned down during the terror attack at a rock concert at the Bataclan theater in Paris. He vowed to the assassins, in an open letter on Facebook, "You will not have my hate." Blending the narrative and poetic, Leiris relates the devastation of that fateful night. He documents the subsequent days, too, as he comes to terms with his loss and focuses on keeping his promise while navigating the day-to-day necessities of caring for a 17-month-old son.

Through powerful metaphors and heartbreaking imagery, Leiris pulls his readers into the orbit of a shell-shocked husband and father. He falters in a "vertigo of solitude" and enters "that little hut that is photographed after the catastrophe, the one that is left miraculously standing while everything around it is in ruins." But he remains full of hope and conviction: "there will be only the two of us, but we will take up the whole picture. She will be with us, invisible, but there. It is in our eyes that you will read her presence, in our joy that her flame will burn."

You Will Not Have My Hate is book that can be read in one sitting--and remain with its readers for a lifetime. The grace of Leiris's love and writing juxtaposed against the hideousness of his wife's murder is jarring yet inspiring. Leiris changes because of violence; his readers will change because of him. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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