Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Translated by Linda Coverdale

With an afterword by Françoise Lefèvre

Hugo Horiot is in love with wheels and all that cranks or turns. He is obsessed with the otherworldly language of pipes—they run, he imagines from his family home to the center of the earth. He causes endless trouble at home and hates school. He muses: "I dream asleep, I dream awake"—but he dreams so hard he shuts out the world with reveries that are not just curious but dangerous and painful too. School is a prison he must escape, his teachers oppressors, and his classmates "a band of jolly torturers." This is the portrait of a boy who might happen to suffer from autism but who is also a beautiful rebel inspired to blaze a path through childhood to find an enduring sense of personal freedom.

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“Haunting, original, dazzling in its mixture of fancy and specificity, a welcome addition to memory and understanding. . .”

“An astonishing and riveting tale from the 'inside' of autism—brave, brutal, funny, triumphant, and terribly moving. As a doctor, I had no idea, and now I do. Required reading for anyone—parent, teacher, school-mate, healthcare worker—who knows a person with this syndrome.”

“Hugo Horiot refuses to allow his autistic behaviors to control his life. Instead, he uses them to put himself in a position of power, triumphantly emerging from his violent, isolated world . . . An important read . . .”

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HUGO HORIOT is a young French actor, director, and writer. In 2005, he was admitted to the Theatre du Jour, a French theater academy, where he studied the art of acting with Pierre Debauche. The Emperor, C'est Moi, the narrative of his experiences with autism, won the Prix Paroles de patients, a French award that recognizes writers writing about disease and healing. The text was later adapted for the stage, with Horiot playing his own character. "I am not cured of Autism," Horiot has said, "I have learned to live with it." He resides in Paris.