Philippe Djian translated from the French by Michael Katims


Publication Date: May 23, 2017

272 pp

Trade Paperback

List Price US $15.95
Trim Size (H x W): 5.5 x 8.25
ISBN: 978-1-59051-915-8


List Price US $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-59051-916-5

Elle is a psychological thriller that recounts thirty days in the life of its heroine Michèle—powerfully portrayed by Isabelle Huppert in Paul Verhoeven’s award-winning film—where memory, sex, and death collide at every page. 

A few weeks before Christmas, Michèle picks herself up from her living room floor. She has been raped. She has almost no recollection of her attacker but she senses his presence—he is never far away—and this uncanny feeling triggers a whirlwind of events and memories. She begins to fear she is losing her grip on a life already complicated by a demanding job, an ex-husband with a new girlfriend, a jealous lover, and a son trapped in a relationship with his girlfriend pregnant by another man.

Hardened by the consequences of her father’s violent past, Michèle—in her fifties, fiercely independent and unsentimental—refuses to be reduced to a victim. When her rapist begins taunting her with messages, she takes measures to protect herself until she discovers his identity… 

Through the bitingly sarcastic and unflinchingly realist voice of its heroine, Elle paints a striking portrait of one woman’s experience that challenges our notions of masculinity and femininity, weakness and strength.

Excerpt from Elle

*Named one of BUSTLE’s 8 Books to Read Before You Watch the Oscars Ceremony’*

Djian’s slim, disturbing novel, already a controversial bestseller in France, is unsparing and fiercely intelligent…Djian’s bold novel, winner of the 2012 Prix Interallié and adapted into an award-winning film directed by Paul Verhoeven, is slight but packs a powerful punch.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“I know Djian and he told me as he was writing, he had me in mind.”Isabelle Huppert, Golden Globe-Winning & Oscar-nominated Actress in an interview with The Guardian

“I read the book and loved it. I immediately thought there was a good film in the book, and a great role.” Isabelle Huppert, Golden Globe-Winning & Oscar nominated Actress in an interview with Town & Country

“Like the movie, the book is a harrowing tale.” —Shelf Awareness 

“This is not an apology of rape, far from it. This is not an essay on woman, and their behaviors or reactions when they are confronted with such crime, but the voice of a particular woman, rid of misogynistic clichés in which they are still often locked. No sentimentalization, no victimization, no dependency on men, no blinding maternal feelings… A free woman, therefore a politically incorrect one.” —Les Inrockuptibles

“There is no provocation in this novel, but on the contrary Djian has the ability to show, without ever judging, what are the mechanics of both soul and heart.” —L’Express

“Incisive, corrosive, sexy, as sad as it is funny, and incontestably exhilarating.” —Vogue

“An intoxicating novel for sure.” —Lire

“Literary and humanly remarkable.”Télérama

“With Elle, Djian continues to explore the infinite land of language with the burning desire to escape the impotence of a certain type of French novel.” —Marianne

“His writing, simple and vivacious, filled with a violence that threatens to explode at every line creates a double-entry suspense: psychological and romantic.” —Aujourd’hui

“Be aware. This is a literary work, a powerful book, a novel that breaks and enters into forbidden lands.” —Paris Match

“Philippe Djian has the knack to persuade his reader to accept the humanity of the inhuman things he describes, and that pain and pleasure don’t have the same borders as good and evil. But the reader doesn’t have time to think, he has a book to finish. A book that barges in on him until the last chapter. If one thinks that it is the story that gives the speed, one is wrong; it’s the art of writing.” —Le Magazine Littéraire