Au lieu des larmes is Eric Halphen’s first autobiographical book. His mother, a small, eighty-six year old woman is diagnosed with Creutzfeld-Jacob. Under the eyes of her son, she is consumed by her illness in just a few months. She passed away last autumn. As he recounts, day after day, without pathos or self-indulgence these tragic months alongside his mother, Eric Halphen travels back in time, painting a moving picture of her, but also of his family – his father, sister and mostly his younger brother, Guillaume, a schizophrenic, whose condition has consistently darkened the life of the small family circle. The reader discovers in Eric Halphen the son as well as the writer and is drawn closer and closer into his intimate life. One can not finish the book without feeling an extraordinary mixture of sadness and admiration.
Eric Halphen became famous despite himself as the judge of the low-cost housing scandals who called in Jacques Chirac as a witness. He recounted the case in the bestseller Sept ans de solitude, published in 2002 with over 160 000 copies sold.