Paris – Attacks – Literature

Paris Attacks Widower’s Defiant Message Turns into Book

Paris Attacks Widower’s Defiant Message Turns into Book
Wed Apr 6, 2016 20:01:23

“You won’t have my hatred” — the defiant words of a Paris attacks widower that won sympathy around the world — are the title of his poignant new book, already translated into 18 languages.

“You stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you won’t have my hatred,” Antoine Leiris posted on Facebook after identifying the body of his 35-year-old wife Helene, one of the 90 concertgoers killed by terrorists at the Bataclan venue on November 13.

The measured remarks quickly went viral as people sought to make sense of the bloodbath, which claimed 130 lives across the French capital.

Nearly five months later Leiris, a 34-year-old journalist, has published a book recounting the aftermath of the tragedy.

An initial print run of 30,000 copies is already sold out, and the book is in a second printing.

The moving and dignified account starts with the fateful night when Leiris stayed at home with the couple’s son Melvil, then 17 months old, while Helene left for the concert by US group Eagles of Death Metal.

A former presenter on French public radio, Leiris recalls how he watched in horror as the first images of the attacks began appearing on the television news.

“My heart was in my mouth,” he wrote.

Then came the interminable scramble for word on his wife and the visits to hospitals … then the call from Helene’s sister.

“Antoine, I’m so sorry.”

At the morgue: “She looks like the woman I watched as she woke each morning … I cry, I talk to her, I want to stay another hour, at least a day, maybe a lifetime. But I have to leave her,” AFP reported.

S/SH 11

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