Xavier Le Clerc, a tribute to his father

Xavier Le Clerc, a tribute to his father

After “Cent vingt ans”, about his great-grandfather during the 1914-1918 war, Xavier Le Clerc continues to explore his roots with modesty and finesse. In this book about his father Mohand-Saïd, he reveals a little more about his Kabyle roots: he was born in Algeria and called Hamid Aït Taleb, before becoming a naturalized French citizen and changing his first and last names. This is not to deny his past, which he recounts here, taking as his central figure the untitled man who is his father.

Unlike Pagnol (“La Gloire de mon Père”), who may portray his father in a favorable light, Le Clerc tells of a hard-working man who never hesitates to sacrifice himself for his children, but who is also quiet and sometimes violent. Although he doesn’t say “I love you” when he writes to her (the last pages of the book), we sense that the author has no resentment towards this father who has experienced traumas (a very poor childhood, then the Algerian war).

As the pages turn, Xavier Le Clerc, a class defector, pays sincere tribute to this illiterate man, who is one of the millions of people crushed by big business, who have no say in the story, who suffer history without having a say in it.


Xavier Le Clerc “Un homme sans titre”, éditions Gallimard, Paris.

Jean-Marc Grosdemouge