PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
Bruckner’s memoir about his father’s brutality towards him as a child after the war, as well as the man’s defiant Nazi sympathies and anti-semitic views, often makes for a relentlessly hard read. This is an escape manual: how to escape from your family, he says, “is to find others”. Bruckner cannot escape his father, but he does ‘defeat’ him.
Pascal Bruckner, a leading French philosopher, has written a short, affecting memoir of his pious Catholic childhood, dominated by a violent father who was a virulent anti-Semite during the war. Reflecting on his emotionally difficult past, he writes in his conclusion: “My father helped me to think better by thinking against him. I am his defeat.” Influenced, among others, by Sartre and Barthes in his later intellectual development, Bruckner has written a sad, honest and spirited book that attempts to grapple with a baleful paternal legacy.