Synopses & Reviews
Violette Leduc was born the illegitimate daughter of a servant seduced by the son of the house. Growing up in the coldhearted glare of her mother, she suffered the guilt of having been born unwanted. In her thirties, during World War II, Leduc worked as a black-marketeer in a village in Normandy. There she shared a cottage with Maurice Sachs, an elegant, snobbish homosexual with whom she fell in love the first of several such doomed affairs. It was Sachs who advised her to write of her childhood, the pain of her youth, and her passionate, tragic liaisons with women. In postwar Paris, Violette took up her station at the famed Cafe de Flore and began her worship of Simone de Beauvoir, who soon became her benefactor and most devastating critic. Though Violette was at the center of left-wing literary society, she struggled for two decades before achieving "overnight" notoriety from her autobiographical writings. With her self-appointed biographer as our guide, we follow Leduc to her beloved Provence, where she lived out her life, her success hard-won, her terror of loneliness unassuaged.