The Inaudible Sister

Original title: Sœur sans bruit

Publication Date:

January 2021



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Narrative Non-Fiction

The Inaudible Sister

Original title: Sœur sans bruit


(Le Rouergue)

Léon and Paulin were born two-and-a-half months prematurely. In their eagerness to see the light of day, an accident occurred. Paulin suffered an intracranial haemorrhage and her forehead still bears the trace of it: a slightly bulging scar resulting from the tricky insertion of a catheter. Paulin’s condition has a name: polyhandicap, which consists of intellectual disability and motor deficit. What may at first look like a physical or aesthetic difference is in reality much more than that, and it also raises many questions. When living with a disabled child who will grow into an adult, what place do the other family members have? Anne-Laure, the elder sister who used to utter inaudible cries when she was a teenager, examines her own place in this story. Through all the questioning, doubts and endless practical details to arrange, a forceful and authentic family story emerges, which reads like the sharing of a secret. The secret of affection and burden, of sentiment and resentment.