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Philippe Lançon

Photo by Catherine Hélie © Éditions Gallimard

Philippe Lançon

Philippe Lançon is a French journalist and writer born in 1963. His memoir, Disturbance, won the 2018 Prix Femina, Prix du Roman News, and Prix Renaudot Jury’s Special Prize, and was also named Best Book of the Year by the magazines Lire and Les Inrockuptibles. He is the author of the novels L’Élan (2013) and Les îles (2011).

All Philippe Lançon's books

Latest reviews

  • “A powerful and deeply civilized memoir...I was moved and provoked by it, and I always looked forward to picking it up again.”
    — The New York Times, Feb 24 2020
  • “‘Disturbance’ — largely written from Rome in 2017 — is a keenly observed journey of recovery as Lançon chronicles the cast of characters in his hospital, from loved ones to caregivers to his bodyguard to patients worse off than he.”
    — The Washington Post, Jan 31 2020
  • Disturbance is an intimate odyssey steeped in collective history, a major work sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads it.”
    — France-Amérique, Jan 16 2020
  • “There isn’t a single misstep in the book. Lançon keeps a firm hand on his story [...] He makes the personal universal.”
    — On the Seawall, Jan 14 2020
  • “...a remarkable account of recovery, the nature of reconstruction, and, in a way, the philosophy of return from the edge of death.”
    — The Lancet, Jan 11 2020
  • “Disturbance is Lançon’s remarkable account of the tragedy and its aftermath, in which he chronicles, in the most granular way imaginable, his physical and psychological travails.”
    — Los Angeles Review of Books, Dec 26 2019
  • “Mr. Lançon decided to record the experience of surviving the terrorist assault. His memoir, which won several prizes when it was published in France last year, and has been translated into English by Steven Rendall.”
    — The Wall Street Journal, Dec 6 2019
  • “A monument to courage...[ Disturbance ] is not mere reportage or political journalism but a real work of literature: a journey into individual suffering.” Read the full review in the Literary Review.
    — Literary Review, Dec 6 2019
  • “We follow Lancon on his tumultuous journey from victim-survivor to living being... Along with an array of literary references, Lancon blends in many philosophical thoughts and historical meditations.” Read the full review in The National
    — The National, Nov 30 2019
  • Disturbance is a hard book, but with no unusual bitterness or false simplicities. More than an account of a semi-recovery, it is also a magnificent tribute. Not just to Lançon’s murdered journalistic colleagues, but to the whole threatened tribe.”
    — The Spectator, Nov 21 2019
  • “The brutality of the attack stands in disturbing contrast to the subtlety of Lançon’s prose...Without resorting to polemic, it’s an argument in favour of the intellectual life, of ideas as beautiful abstractions, weaponised only as satire, never as terror.”
    — The Guardian, Nov 4 2019
  • “Readers will learn details about the Charlie Hebdo attack that only Lançon can provide, and will empathize with Lançon’s slow, pained road to recovery while he summons the strength to share his most intimate fears with the world. Highly recommended for all audiences.”
    — Library Journal (Starred Review), Nov 1 2019
  • “Unrelenting, mesmerizing, and beautifully written, Disturbance is transformative.”
    — ForeWord Reviews, Oct 26 2019
  • “Lançon’s monumental memoir, Disturbance, is a close examination . . . of what it means to survive the unimaginable, to be a ghost among the living whose sense of time, love, and self has been irreparably fractured, though not entirely lost.”
    — LitHub, Sep 13 2019
  • “A frank, relentless, gripping memoir that illustrates both man’s inhumanity to man and how quiet resolution can reclaim and restore.”
    — Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review), Aug 18 2019
  • “Clear-eyed, endlessly curious, and never sentimental, Lançon’s engrossing saga shows how a writer’s rich powers of observation and reflection bridge a chasm of tragedy.”
    — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review), Aug 12 2019


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