Our Fathers, Our Brothers, Our Friends. Inside the Minds of Violent Men
Original title: Nos pères, nos frères, nos amis
Exploring the unthinkable
For several years now, violence against women has become a major news topic. #MeToo, femicide, etc.: The debate is framed around the victims. Their voices are finally being heard. But what about violent men?
Why do they hit women? Despite convictions, they’re often multiple offenders. Can they change? Journalist Mathieu Palain first produced a successful podcast, “Violent Men” from within a therapy group. Then he continued his investigation, adding new material on these men who hurt the women they claim to love.
A mirror of masculinity
With his recognized talent for imbricating the private and the bigger story, the author interweaves the stories of these violent men with his own, exploring the ideal which pushes men to try to live up to the virile role society has assigned them. What does it mean to be “a real man”, to be “a good man”? As he listens to Jean-Luc, Kader, Azzedine, Franck and Julien, and goes to see Cécile, Mélanie, Alexandra and others, he draws the portrait of modern masculinity: ravaged by the double binds of the present and the toxic legacy inherited from the past. Money, social status, fidelity… Their stories help to develop a more ambiguous vision of heterosexual couple dynamics and society.
A pioneering investigation
Mathieu Palain attended private group therapy sessions, visited a domestic violence shelter, and witnessed legal proceedings. He was able to gain access to incredibly powerful stories and accounts from both abusers and victims. He is one of the only journalists to have had the opportunity to obtain uncensored recordings of these men and their victims. He upends many of the stereotypes associated with them: Battered women aren’t always fragile and submissive; abusers can come from wealthy backgrounds, be bankers and live in nice homes.
Recognized for his talents as a portraitist in the journal XXI, Mathieu Palain, 33, has been awarded the prestigious Prix Françoise-Giroud. He published his first novel, Sale Gosse, with Iconoclast in 2019 to great critical and public acclaim.
With Ne t’arrête pas de courir, published in 2021, he won more than 15 awards, including the Prix Interallié, the Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle Document 2022, and the Prix France Culture des étudiants.
– An immersive two-year investigation
– A rising star in French narrative nonfiction
Print run: 12,000