Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo

By Steven Rendall and Philippe Lancon




A 2019 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR (Evening StandardNew StatesmanLit Hub)

Paris, January 7, 2015. Two terrorists who claim allegiance to ISIS attack the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The event causes untold pain to the victims and their families, prompts a global solidarity movement, and ignites a fierce debate over press freedoms and the role of satire today.

Philippe Lan on, a journalist, author, and a weekly contributor to Charlie Hebdo is gravely wounded in the attack. This intense life experience upends his relationship to the world, to writing, to reading, to love and to friendship. As he attempts to reconstruct his life on the page, Lan on rereads Proust, Thomas Mann, Kafka, and others in search of guidance. It is a year before he can return to writing, a year in which he learns to work through his experiences and their aftermath.

Disturbance is not an essay on terrorism nor is it a witness's account of Charlie Hebdo. The attack and what followed are part of Lan on's narrative, which, instead, touches upon the universal. It is an honest, intimate account of a man seeking to put his life back together after it has been torn apart.

Disturbance is a book about survival, resilience, and reconstruction, about transformation, about one man's shifting relationship to time, to writing and journalism, to truth, and to his own body.

Product Details

Price: $28.00  $25.20
Publisher: Europa Editions
Published Date: November 12, 2019
Pages: 448
ISBN: 9781609455569
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Philippe Lançon is a French journalist and writer born in 1963. Steven Rendall has translated more than fifty books from French and German, two of which have won major translation prizes. He is professor emeritus of Romance Languages at the University of Oregon and editor emeritus of Comparative Literature. He currently lives in France.


Praise for Disturbance

"A frank, relentless, gripping memoir that illustrates both man's inhumanity to man and how quiet resolution can reclaim and restore." --Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Clear-eyed, endlessly curious, and never sentimental." --Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Unrelenting, mesmerizing, and beautifully written, Disturbance is transformative." --ForeWord Reviews

"[Disturbance] is not mere reportage or political journalism but a real work of literature: a journey into individual suffering." --Literary Review

"An undeniable, absolute masterpiece." --Le Figaro Magazine

"Highly recommended for all audiences." --Library Journal (Starred Review)

"[Disturbance] is a fascinating and often sobering read, one that offers insight into human fragility as well as resilience." --World Literature Today

"Brilliantly conceived and adeptly executed...There isn't a single misstep in the book." --Ron Slate, On The Seawall

"A magnificent tribute." --The Spectator

"[Disturbance] is an argument in favour of the intellectual life, of ideas as beautiful abstractions, weaponised only as satire, never as terror."--The Guardian

"It is a remarkable account of recovery, the nature of reconstruction, and, in a way, the philosophy of return from the edge of death." --The Lancet

"A great work of literature." --Le Journal du Dimanche

"An extraordinary book." --Elle

"An intense account." --Les Inrockuptiles

"Incredible sensitivity and humanity." --Lepoint.fr

"Remarkable." --Le Monde des Livres