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The Origin of Violence

Translator: Frank Wynne
Imprint: Serpent's Tail
Subject: Fiction, World Literature

The Origin of Violence

Fabrice Humbert

Winner of the inaugural French Orange Prize in 2009 and the Prix Renaudot's livre de poche prize

eBook (ePUB/MOBI)?
9781847656476 (1 Dec 2011)

About the book

During a school trip to Buchenwald concentration camp, a young French teacher comes across a photograph of a man whose resemblance to his own father, Adrien, is uncanny. However, the man has a different name and died in 1942.

Returning to France, he finds that the memory of the photograph refuses to leave him. He decides to embark on a search for its subject, which takes him to the Buchenwald archives, to the heart of the Nazi machine, but more disturbingly, draws him into the dark heart of his own family. Eventually, he is brought face-to-face with his own capacity for violence.

A subtle, moving book, The Origins of Violence shows the limitless ways in which humans inflict harm on each other, and how individual people, not societies, are the perpetrators.

About the author

Fabrice Humbert currently teaches literature at a French secondary school. In 2009 The Origins of Violence was published in France, where it was immediately hailed by the press as 'a great novel' and 'a revelation'. This exceptional critical acclaim was rewarded when the novel won the first ever French Orange Prize for Fiction.


Highly intelligent and moving ... a novel of rare scope, substance and strength

- Scotsman

Convincing and poignant

- Jewish Quarterly

Beautifully written

- Glasgow Herald

Additional Information

Translator: Frank Wynne
Imprint: Serpent's Tail
Subject: Fiction, World Literature

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