I am 7

Laurent Dutheil (ENG)

I am seven is the story of a revelation, which draws its power from its modesty. At the age of 7, the narrator lives in a bourgeois world, safe from the ostentation of the wider world. When his parents tell him in confidence that they’ve changed their name, the narrator does not pay great attention. Until he is 13, during a game based on the etymology of surnames, he decides to reveal his “real” surname to his class at school.

The narrator tells his parents the same evening, not realizing he has inadvertently opened a can of worms. With good reason : having experienced the fear and anguish of being deported because they were Jews during the Occupation, his parents did everything they could to preserve their son from their religious and cultural heritage in order to avoid the perils this identity caused them. Once the trauma has been unveiled, the narrator understands the painful family foundation upon which he stands and the loophole in his identity it has opened up. For Deutsch and Dutheil may be different names, but they remain the same human being, and there are still a host of questions that secrecy and pain have left unanswered. The narrator looks back at the past in the light of his dual heritage, between French assimilation and the discovery of his Jewishness. He recreates this scattered identity through books, films, and family tales. This text, written in turn through the eyes of a child, a teenager and a man, creates the necessary distance (both emotional and over time) that can only be achieved with humor.

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Presse & Librairie

Sébastien Dubos et Alexandre Ferrer, Midi : Les choses de la vie

« [Le narrateur] va grandir, apprendre, comprendre et va être rattrapé par l’histoire, les drames et les massacres. Laurent Dutheil se raconte tout en sensibilité. »

Bernard Quiriny, L’Opinion

« Le sobre récit de cette reconstruction – ou plutôt construction - identitaire vaut autant comme réflexion sur les racines que comme variation littéraire sur le thème du secret de famille. »

Ilan Levy, Actualité juive

« Écrit à hauteur d’enfant, ce témoignage où se mêlent tendresse et questionnement, parle à toutes les générations. »

About the author

Born in 1956, Laurent Dutheil is a lawyer, politician and chief of (...)

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