Kouchner’s memoir about Olivier Duhamel’s abuse of her twin brother sent the French cultural elite into crisis. She talks about her parents’ hedonistic generation – and the secret she could no longer keep
Stepping inside Camille Kouchner’s home near Place de la République in Paris, one is aware of the stark contrast between the world the author grew up in and the one she now inhabits – and not just because it is on the opposite bank of the Seine. One senses an invisible frontier between past and present, a line finally drawn under a childhood frozen in time by a family secret kept for 20 years.
We sit down in her kitchen-living room, giving on to a peaceful, leafy courtyard, the walls lined with bookcases. Petite and warm, Kouchner is wearing jeans, black Converse trainers and a grey cashmere scarf, her auburn hair tied loosely in a bun. I am here to talk to her about her memoir, La Familia Grande, which sent shock waves into the heart of the French establishment when it was published at the beginning of last year. In it, Kouchner accuses her stepfather of sexually abusing her twin brother when they were teenagers.