The Familia Grande
Camille Kouchner — 2022
An eloquent, powerful reckoning with incest and trauma, which made a profound impact with its denunciation of a prominent French public intellectual and the literary and political elite that enabled his abuse. In February 2017, Camille Kouchner gathered with family in Sanary-sur-Mer to bury her mother, who died with none of her five children present. Her passing would stir up old emotions, ultimately leading Camille to publicly confront a long-held and corrosive secret: her stepfather sexually abused her twin brother when they were adolescents. This violation of the parent-child relationship was compounded by the complicity of their mother, who learned of her husband’s actions and stood by him, shifting blame to Camille and her twin. The Familia Grande poignantly explores the family dynamics of abuse, and the questions of guilt and shame surrounding it. Camille grapples with her own sense of responsibility—for not having stopped her stepfather at the time, and for agreeing to keep silent as her brother asked—and also considers the wider societal forces that have allowed influential men to commit such crimes and avoid the consequences for so long.