*Shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize* Co-winner of the 2018 French-American Foundation Translation Prize in Nonfiction Winner of the 2017 Marguerite Yourcenar Prize for her entire body of work Winner of the 2016 Strega European Prize Considered by many to be the iconic French memoirist's defining work, The Years was a breakout bestseller when published in France in 2008, and is considered in French Studies departments in the US as a contemporary classic. The Years is a personal narrative of the period 1941 to 2006 told through the lens of memory, impressions past and present--even projections into the future--photos, books, songs, radio, television and decades of advertising, headlines, contrasted with intimate conflicts and writing notes from six decades of diaries. Local dialect, words of the times, slogans, brands and names for the ever-proliferating objects, are given voice here. The voice we recognize as the author's continually dissolves and re-emerges. Ernaux makes the passage of time palpable. Time itself, inexorable, narrates its own course, consigning all other narrators to anonymity. A new kind of autobiography emerges, at once subjective and impersonal, private and collective. On its 2008 publication in France, The Years came as a surprise. Though Ernaux had for years been hailed as a beloved, bestselling and award-winning author, The Years was in many ways a departure: both an intimate memoir "written" by entire generations, and a story of generations telling a very personal story. Like the generation before hers, the narrator eschews the "I" for the "we" (or "they", or "one") as if collective life were inextricably intertwined with a private life that in her parents' generation ceased to exist. She writes of her parents' generation (and could be writing of her own book): "From a common fund of hunger and fear, everything was told in the "we" and impersonal pronouns."
In 1963, Annie Ernaux, 23 and unattached, realizes she is pregnant. Shame arises in her like a plague: Understanding that her pregnancy will mark her and her family as social failures, she knows she cannot keep that child. This is the story, written forty years later, of a trauma Ernaux never overcame. In a France where abortion was illegal, she attempted, in vain, to self-administer the abortion with a knitting needle. Fearful and desperate, she finally located an abortionist, and ends up in a hospital emergency ward where she nearly dies. In Happening, Ernaux sifts through her memories and her journal entries dating from those days. Clearly, cleanly, she gleans the meanings of her experience.
Taking the form of random journal entries over seven years, Exteriors captures the feeling of contemporary living on the outskirts of Paris. Poignantly lyrical, chaotic, and strangely alive.
Washington Post Top Memoir of 1999 An extraordinary evocation of a grown daughters attachment to her mother, and of both womens strength and resiliency. "I Remain in Darkness" recounts Annies attempts first to help her mother recover from Alzheimers disease, and then, when that proves futile, to bear witness to the older womans gradual decline and her own experience as a daughter losing a beloved parent. "I Remain in Darkness" is a new high water mark for Ernaux, surging with raw emotional power and her sublime ability to use language to apprehend her own lifes particular music.
"My father tried to kill my mother one Sunday in June, in the early afternoon," begins Shame, the probing story of the twelve-year-old girl who will become the author herself, and the single traumatic memory that will echo and resonate throughout her life. With the emotionally rich voice of great fiction and the diamond-sharp analytical eye of a scientist, Annie Ernaux provides a powerful reflection on experience and the power of violent memory to endure through time, to determine the course of a life.
A Frozen Woman charts Ernaux's teenage awakening, and then the parallel progression of her desire to be desirable and her ambition to fulfill herself in her chosen profession - with the inevitable conflict between the two. And then she is thirty years old, a teacher married to an executive, mother of two infant sons. She looks after their nice apartment, raises her children. And yet, like millions of other women, she has felt her enthusiasm and curiosity, her strength and her happiness, slowly ebb under the weight of her daily routine. The very condition that everyone around her seems to consider normal and admirable for a woman is killing her. While each of Ernaux's books contain an autobiographical element, A Frozen Woman, one of Ernaux's early works, concentrates the spotlight piercingly on Annie herself. Mixing affection, rage and bitterness, A Frozen Woman shows us Ernaux's developing art when she still relied on traditional narrative, before the shortened form emerged that has since become her trademark.
Another masterpiece of remembering from Annie Ernaux, the Man Booker International Prize shortlisted author of The Years. In Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman , Annie Ernaux revisits the night 50 years earlier when she found herself submerged and controlled by another person's desire and willpower. It is the summer of 1958, the year she turned 18. And then the man she gave herself to moves on. She has submitted her will to his, and now she finds that she is a slave without a master. Now, fifty years later, she realizes she can obliterate the intervening years and return to consider this young woman that until now she wanted to forget completely. And to discover that here was the vital, violent and dolorous origin of her writing life, her writer's identity, built out of shame, violence, betrayal.
B>b>The diary of one of Frances most important, award-winning writers during the year she had a passionate and secret love affair with a Russian diplomat./b>/b>br>br>Getting Lost is the diary Annie Ernaux kept during the year and a half she had a secret love affair with a younger, married man, a Russian diplomat. Her novel, Simple Passion, was based on this affair, but here her writing is immediate, unfiltered. In these diaries it is 1989 and Annie is divorced with two grown sons, living outside of Paris and nearing fifty. Her lover escapes the city to see her there and Ernaux seems to survive only in expectation of these encounters, saying his desire for me is the only thing I can be sure of. She cannot write, she trudges distractedly through her various other commitments in the world, she awaits his next call; she lives only to feel desire and for the next rendezvous. When he is gone and the desire has faded, she feels that she is a step closer to death.br>;br>Lauded for her spare prose, Ernaux here removes all artifice, her writing pared down to its most naked and vulnerable. Getting Lost is as strong a book as any that she has written, a haunting, desperate view of strong and successful woman who seduces a man only to lose herself in love and desire.
A New York Times Notable Book In her spare, stark style, Annie Ernaux documents the desires and indignities of a human heart ensnared in an all-consuming passion. Blurring the line between fact and fiction, an unnamed narrator attempts to plot the emotional and physical course of her two-year relationship with a married foreigner where every word, event, and person either provides a connection with her beloved or is subject to her cold indifference. With courage and exactitude, she seeks the truth behind an existence lived entirely for someone else, and, in the pieces of its aftermath, she is able to find it.
Self-regard, in the works of Annie Ernaux, is always an excruciatingly painful and exact process. Here, she revisits the peculiar kind of self-fulfillment possible when we examine ourselves in the aftermath of a love affair, and sometimes, even, through the eyes of the lost beloved.
A New York Times Notable Book A Womans Story is Annie Ernauxs "deeply affecting account of mothers and daughters, youth and age, and dreams and reality" (Kirkus Reviews). Upon her mothers death from Alzheimers, Ernaux embarks on a daunting journey back through time, as she seeks to "capture the real woman, the one who existed independently from me, born on the outskirts of a small Normandy town, and who died in the geriatric ward of a hospital in the suburbs of Paris." She explores the bond between mother and daughter, tenuous and unshakable at once, the alienating worlds that separate them, and the inescapable truth that we must lose the ones we love. In this quietly powerful tribute, Ernaux attempts to do her mother the greatest justice she can: to portray her as the individual she was. She writes, "I believe I am writing about my mother because it is my turn to bring her into the world."