Elle

Written by Philippe Djian | Translated by Michael Katims
Other Press | May 23, 2017

Elle is a psychological thriller that recounts thirty days in the life of its heroine Michèle—powerfully portrayed by Isabelle Huppert in Paul Verhoeven’s award-winning film—where memory, sex, and death collide at every page. 

A few weeks before Christmas, Michèle picks herself up from her living room floor. She has been raped. She has almost no recollection of her attacker but she senses his presence—he is never far away—and this uncanny feeling triggers a whirlwind of events and memories. She begins to fear she is losing her grip on a life already complicated by a demanding job, an ex-husband with a new girlfriend, a jealous lover, and a son trapped in a relationship with his girlfriend pregnant by another man.

Hardened by the consequences of her father’s violent past, Michèle—in her fifties, fiercely independent and unsentimental—refuses to be reduced to a victim. When her rapist begins taunting her with messages, she takes measures to protect herself until she discovers his identity… 

Through the bitingly sarcastic and unflinchingly realist voice of its heroine, Elle paints a striking portrait of one woman’s experience that challenges our notions of masculinity and femininity, weakness and strength.

Philippe Djian is the award-winning author of more than twenty novels, including the bestseller 37°2 le matin, published in the United States as Betty Blue. Elle is the fifth of his novels to be adapted into film. A bestseller in France, Elle (Oh!) received the 2012 Prix Interallié.

Publisher's website


REVIEWS

“There is no provocation in this novel, but on the contrary Djian has the ability to show, without ever judging, what are the mechanics of both soul and heart.” —L’Express

“Incisive, corrosive, sexy, as sad as it is funny, and incontestably exhilarating.” —Vogue

“An intoxicating novel for sure.” —Lire

“Literary and humanly remarkable.”Télérama

“With Elle, Djian continues to explore the infinite land of language with the burning desire to escape the impotence of a certain type of French novel.” —Marianne

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

In Defence of the Terror

In this succinct essay, Sophie Wahnich explains how, contrary to prevailing interpretations, the institution of Terror sought to put a brake on legitimate popular violence—in Danton’s words, to “be terrible so as to spare the people the need to be so”—and was subsequently subsumed in a logic of war.
new titles

Autoportrait

In this brilliant and sobering self-portrait, Edouard Levé hides nothing from his readers, setting out his entire life, more or less at random, in a string of declarative sentences. Autoportrait is a physical, psychological, sexual, political, and philosophical triumph.
new titles

Children are naughty

A humorous story about mischievous kids and nice parents for kids to discover right from wrong.