Mari D Annie Ernaux Bibliography

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Annie Ernaux
at the complete review:

biographical | bibliography | quotes | pros/cons | our opinion | links


Name:Annie ERNAUX
Born:1 September 1940
Awards:Prix Renaudot (1984)

  • Studied at the University of Rouen
  • Has worked as a teacher, and professor (at the Centre National d'Enseignement par Correspondance)

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Highlighted titles are under review at the complete review

  • Cleaned Out - novel, 1974 (Les armoires vides, trans. Carol Sanders, 1990)
  • Ce qu'ils disent ou rien - novel, 1977
  • A Frozen Woman - novel, 1981 (La femme gelée, trans. Linda Coverdale, 1995)
  • A Man's Place - novel, 1984 (La place, trans. Tanya Leslie, 1992)
  • A Woman's Story - novel, 1987 (Une Femme, trans. Tanya Leslie, 1991)
  • Simple Passion - novel, 1991 (Passion simple, trans. Tanya Leslie, 1993)
  • Exteriors - novel, 1993 (Journal du dehors, trans. Tanya Leslie, 1996)
  • "I Remain in Darkness" - memoir, 1997 (Je ne suis pas sortie de ma nuit, trans. Tanya Leslie, 1999)
  • Shame - novel, 1997 (La honte, trans. Tanya Leslie, 1998)
  • Happening - novel, 2000 (L'événement, trans. Tanya Leslie, 2001)
  • Things Seen - non-fiction, 2000 (La vie extérieure, trans. Jonathan Kaplansky, 2010)
  • Se perdre - journal, 2001
  • The Possession - novel, 2002 (L'occupation, transl. Anna Moschovakis, 2008
  • L'ecriture comme un couteau - interview, 2003 (with Frédéric-Yves Jeannet)
  • L'usage de la photo - autobiographical, 2005 (with Marc Marie)
  • The Years - memoir, 2008 (Les années, trans. Alison L. Strayer, 2017)
  • L'autre fille - novel, 2011
  • L�atelier noir - non-fiction, 2011
  • Regarde les lumières mon amour - novel, 2014
  • Mémoire de fille - novel, 2016

Please note that this bibliography is not necessarily complete.

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What others have to
say aboutAnnie Ernaux:

  • "Annie Ernaux is the sort of writer who practices vivisection. With words, she lays open a life -- not only her own but others' as well: mother, father, lover, friend. Keen language and unwavering focus allow her to penetrate deep, to reveal pulses of love, desire, remorse." - Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review (28/11/1999)

  • "Ms. Ernaux (...) has created something of a genre: the emotionally minimalist, stylistically uninflected chronicles of a hypersensitive middle-aged woman examining her own life and those of her parents. Her work represents a severely pared-down Proustianism, a testament to the persistent, haunting and melancholy quality of memory." - Richard Bernstein, The New York Times (22/11/1999)

  • "Annie Ernaux's work is remarkably of a piece, each book circling back to paraphrase, correct, emendate, and reinvest earlier ones. (...) Her work, with its blurring of fictional, autobiographical, and confessional elements, of the discursive and the representational, leads us virtually with each sentence to question supposed borders between finding and making, re-creation and reinvention; to question the notion of literature itself." - James Sallis, Review of Contemporary Fiction (Spring/2000)

  • "Annie Ernaux is not afraid of feelings. She writes like a general in command of a vast army of feelings." - Susan Salter Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times (30/9/2001)

  • "Annie Ernaux writes short, spare autobiographical books that are quickly dispensed with and difficult to forget. With the dispassion and efficiency of a military strategist, she ambushes her past, prying it from its refuge in nostalgia and oblivion and holding it up naked for all to see." - Emily Eakins, The New York Times Book Review (28/10/2001)

  • "Ernaux's talent lies in her distinctive style, characterized by its simplicity, truthful nature, and occasional brutal violence. In the space of a few pages, she captures the reader, who is seduced by the economy of her prose." - E.Nicole Meyer, World Literature Today (Winter/2002)

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Pros and Cons
of the author's work:

  • Writing is direct and (often unflinchingly) honest
  • Interesting (and piercing) point of view
  • Does some things -- confusion of childhood, discovery of sexuality -- exceptionally well
  • Her books are short, powerful reads
  • Accessible to an English-speaking audience (and most of her writing is available in translation)

  • Familiar subjects covered again and again (her parents and her childhood in particular)
  • Often little analysis or even reflection -- facts are merely presented
  • Autobiographical focus of all the books

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the complete review's Opinion

     Annie Ernaux's slim volumes are powerful little reads. They are short fictions, based in her life, most only a hundred pages or so in length. Similar territory is revisited and reexamined from book to book as she tries to come to terms with her childhood, her parents, her love affairs, and still she manages to create something new each time. Ernaux's self-reflection is surprisingly detached, a change from the usual obsessive autobiographical first-person fictions. The public display might make some uneasy, but the books hold great fascination.
     Ernaux writes simply, clearly, to the point. There is no great embellishment. In style and form she sticks to basics -- and still manages to achieve a certain poetry.
     It is an interesting life she has led: shopkeeper's daughter, a gifted student that escaped her working-class background through academic success (a difficult transition that continues to haunt and colour her life at every stage), teacher. With each book a new facet is revealed. Many of the significant stages in her life have been starkly revealed, neither dressed up nor self-pityingly played up. Ernaux admits to vulnerability and weakness. She is human and believable.
     Each next chapter is eagerly awaited.

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Annie Ernaux: Annie Ernaux's Books at the complete reviewSee also:
  • Index of other Author Pages at the complete review
  • Index of French literature at the complete review

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© 1999-2017 the complete review

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Annie Ernaux (born in Lillebonne, Seine-Maritime on 1 September 1940) is a French writer.[1]

She won the Prix Renaudot in 1984[2] for her book La Place, an autobiographical narrative focusing on her relationship with her father and her experiences growing up in a small town in France, and her subsequent process of moving into adulthood and away from her parents' place of origin.[3][4]

As a child, Annie Ernaux lived in Yvetot in Normandy.[5] Very early in her career, she turned away from fiction to concentrate on autobiography.[6] Her work combines historic and individual experiences. She charts her parents' social progression (La place, La honte), her adolescence (Ce qu’ils disent ou rien), her marriage (La femme gelée), her passionate affair with an eastern European man ("Simple Passion") her abortion (L’événement), Alzheimer's disease (Je ne suis pas sortie de ma nuit), the death of her mother (Une femme) and breast cancer (L’usage de la photo).[5] Ernaux also wrote L'écriture comme un couteau (which should be understood as Writing as sharp as a knife) with Frédéric-Yves Jeannet.[5]

Her 2008 historical memoir Les Années (The Years) is considered by many to be her 'magnum opus': it was very well received by French critics[7] and selected for the 2016 Premio Strega Europeo. In this book Ernaux writes of herself in the third person (elle) for the first time, providing a vivid look at French society from just after the Second World War until the early 2000s.[8] It is the poignant social history of a woman and of the evolving society she lived in.

Many of her works have been translated into English and published by Seven Stories Press. Ernaux is one of the seven founding authors of the press from which it got its name.


  • Les Armoires vides, Paris, Gallimard, 1974; Gallimard, 1984, ISBN 978-2-07-037600-1
  • Ce qu’ils disent ou rien, Paris, Gallimard, 1977; French & European Publications, Incorporated, 1989, ISBN 978-0-7859-2655-9
  • La Femme gelée, Paris, Gallimard, 1981; French & European Publications, Incorporated, 1987, ISBN 978-0-7859-2535-4
  • La Place, Paris, Gallimard, 1983; Distribooks Inc, 1992, ISBN 978-2-07-037722-0
  • Une Femme, Paris, Gallimard, 1989
  • Passion simple, Paris, Gallimard, 1991; Gallimard, 1993, ISBN 978-2-07-038840-0
  • Journal du dehors, Paris, Gallimard, 1993
  • La Honte, Paris, Gallimard, 1997[9]
  • Je ne suis pas sortie de ma nuit, Paris, Gallimard, 1997
  • La Vie extérieure : 1993-1999, Paris, Gallimard, 2000
  • L’Événement, Paris, Gallimard, 2000, ISBN 978-2-07-075801-2
  • Se perdre, Paris, Gallimard, 2001
  • L’Occupation, Paris, Gallimard, 2002
  • L’Usage de la photo, with Marc Marie, Paris, Gallimard, 2005
  • Les Années, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, ISBN 978-2-07-077922-2[10]
  • L'Autre fille, Paris, Nil, 2011 ISBN 978-2-84111-539-6
  • L'Atelier noir, Paris, éd. des Busclats, 2011
  • Écrire la vie, Paris, Gallimard, 2011.
  • Retour à Yvetot, éditions du Mauconduit, 2013.
  • Regarde les lumières mon amour, Raconter la vie, 2014.
  • Mémoire de fille, Gallimard, 2016.


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