This image is the cover for the book When I Was Five I Killed Myself

When I Was Five I Killed Myself

“[A] graceful and brilliant novel . . . leads the reader on a journey through childhood autism that proves enlightening as well as fascinating.” —ForeWord Magazine

Burton Rembrandt has the sort of perspective on life that is almost impossible for adults to understand: the perspective of an eight-year-old. And to Burt, his parents and teachers seem to be speaking a language he cannot understand. This is Burt’s story as written in pencil on the walls of the Quiet Room in the Children’s Trust Residence Center, where he lands after expressing his ardent feelings for a classmate. It begins:

When I was five I killed myself . . .

In this rediscovered modern classic from “one of France’s best-loved contemporary writers,” Howard Buten renders with astounding insight and wry language the tale of a troubled—or perhaps just perfectly normal—young boy testing the boundaries of love and life (Time).

“Buten uses his wit like a whip to get at the heart of this boy’s own story . . . bringing some shock and some power to that delicate line between youth and the rest of the world.” —The Austin Chronicle

“This psychologically intense tale moves quickly, and the difficult task of creating a child’s voice with authenticity and depth proves Buten a gifted stylist and storyteller . . . [an] imaginative and provocative book.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Certainly Buten offers some insight into a troubled child’s mind.” —The New York Times Book Review

Howard Buten

Howard Buten, the author of seven novels published in France, is a performing artist known as Buffo the clown, who has played opera houses around the world. In 1991, he was named a Chevalier des Artes et Lettres, France's highest literary honor. He divides his time between New York and Paris.

The Overlook Press