Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Review: A Woman's Story, by Annie Ernaux


A Woman's Story, by Annie Ernaux. Seven Stories Press (2003). Translated from the French by Tanya Leslie.

I should really just try reading her in the original. Anyway this is my first time reading Ernaux and will not be my last. A Woman's Story is a spare, elliptical memoir about the narrator's mother, a brief biography and series of remembrances on the occasion of her mother's death.

It's very short and you can read it in about an hour or so. Ernaux details her mother's early life and her later years, the times they spent together and the time that Ernaux spent caring for her toward the end of her life. It's not all shiny. 

There is a lot (relative to the fact that it is a short book) about both women's girlhoods.  It could be any woman's story; Ernaux succeeds in making it specific and universal. It might make you want to write your own story too.

Ernaux won the Nobel Prize recently and her books are available abundantly, at least at good bookstores. (I got mine at The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass.) I don't want to write too much because I want you to go pick up one of her books and have the experience of dipping into her world. I know I'll be back soon.

I'm off to read A Girl's Story next. 

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this copy for review.

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