What We Most Desire

Original title: Ce que nous désirons le plus

Publication Date:

August 2022



Original language and publisher

French | Les Escales

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French


Literary Non-Fiction

Number of copies sold:

10,000 in print

What We Most Desire

Original title: Ce que nous désirons le plus


It is a story of filial love and betrayal. Destruction and then reconstruction. an ode to reading as reparation, to writing as rebirth. A cathartic book. — Libération

In this essential and wildly moving text, Caroline Laurent invites us to a frantic dance with women who write, drawing from literature the consoling power necessary for the act of writing. An indispensable read where each word is a gesture, a step. A dance. — Page des Libraires

Caroline Laurent admirably explores the power of grief mixed with appalling revelations. — Lire Magazine

There is something deeply moving in this delicate account of the fall of a writer, devastated by a devastated by a tragedy that strikes her from the side, by ricochet. — Femme Actuelle

The multi-awarded author tells in this very disjointed and intimate story the wound, the weight of the betrayal and its reconstruction. — Télé 2 semaines

Caroline Laurent delivers an intimate text. She opens her heart and her sorrows. A descent to hell, costing her both professionally and intimately. Writing the pain, the sorrow, the disappointment, the mourning of a friendship to reinvent herself and move forward again. — Le Mans ma Ville

A journey that is both singular and universal. With What We Most Desire, award-winning author Caroline Laurent brilliantly follows in the footsteps of Annie Ernaux and Deborah Levy.

“One day a friend dies, and by dying she gives birth to myself. What unites us: a book. Her last novel, my first novel, entwined in a single volume. Such a beautiful story.

Five years later, the ground shifts under my feet when I read another book, which breaks the silence of an incestuous family. My heart freezes; I no longer breathe. These people I loved, and who loved me, were not the ones I thought they were?

I was not the victim of this drama. However, an unknown pain dug a hole in me.

For a year, I fought against grief and madness. I thought I had lost everything: my joy, my bearings, my confidence, my desire. Writing was impossible. It was to forget the deep consolations. The beauty of the world. The body in motion. The impulse of women who write: Deborah Levy, Annie Ernaux, Joan Didion… So to hold on for dear life. One morning, writing will return.”