A daughter's literary tribute to French mathematician tortured to death in Algeria

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Michèle Audin was just three years old when her mathematician father Maurice was tortured and killed by the French army in Algiers in 1957. Today Michèle, herself a celebrated mathematician, has published a book which does not recount the tragic circumstances of her father's death, but instead celebrates his life in a style that is both concise and deeply moving. Dominique Conil reviews A brief life.

 

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Michèle Audin, the celebrated mathematician whose father Maurice Audin was tortured and killed by French troops in Algeria in 1957, could have published her book about him in 2012. That, after all, was the year commemorating 50 years of Algerian independence from France. Yet Michèle Audin published 'Une vie bréve' ('A brief life') early in 2013 and in the book she touches but briefly on the details of her father's tragic death, an episode that became known in France as the 'l'Affaire Audin' or 'Audin affair'. She also avoids writing about her father in an overtly-emotional way, and each word is carefully weighed.