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You Will Not Have My Hate


Edited by William Heyward

On November 13, 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène Muyal-Leiris, was killed, along with 88 other people at the Bataclan Theater in Paris, when three men armed with guns and suicide bombs opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd at a rock concert. Three days later, Leiris, a young journalist, wrote an open letter addressed directly to his wife’s killers, which he published on Facebook. The whole world was in mourning for the victims of the attacks in Paris, but Leiris refused to be cowed or to let his 17-month-old son’s life be defined by Hélène’s murder. He refused to let the killers have their way.  “For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom,” he wrote of his son. Instantly, that short Facebook post caught fire. It was shared over two hundred thousand times and was reported on by newspapers and television stations all over the world. In his beautiful and heartbreaking defiance of the terrorists who had killed his wife, Leiris became an international hero to everyone searching desperately for a way to deal with the horror of the Paris attacks.

You Will Not Have My Hate is an extraordinary and heartbreaking memoir about how Leiris, and his baby son Melvil, endured after Hélène’s murder. With courage, moral acuity, and absolute emotional honesty, Leiris somehow finds a way to answer the question, how can I go on? In lucid and gentle prose, he describes being pulled away from Hélène’s body at the morgue, having to tell his son that mommy will not be coming home, and mourning the woman he had planned to spend his life with. His grief is terrible, but his love for his son is indomitable. This is the rare and unforgettable testimony of a survivor, and a universal message of hope and resilience. Leiris is guiding star for us all in perilous times.

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Praise

“An extraordinary read, honest, intimate and lightly poetic. It is a testament of love, loss and grief and also the often untold story of those who are left behind and must find a way to go on”—Irish Independent

“A book of exceptional grace… the most extraordinary account of an emotional journey” – Observer

“All about love and loss…. An astonishing feat…. I defy anyone not to shed tears at least once when reading this book.” – Sunday Times

“Courageous and inspirational, without a wasted word.”—Kirkus

“This powerful one-sitting read speaks of a very specific grief to which many in the world feel connected.”—Booklist

“One of the most enduring and memorable messages after the deadly attack on Paris’s Bataclan theater was written by journalist Antoine Leiris… This bracing, courageous, and utterly beautiful book shows us that he had much more to say.” – 21 Must-Read Books for Fall, Elle.com

“[Leiris’s] grief transcends any attempt at literary criticism… Courageous and inspirational, without a wasted word.” – Kirkus [starred]

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Excerpt

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