Annie Ernaux's father died exactly two months after she passed her practical examination for a teaching certificate. Barely educated and valued since childhood strictly for his labor, Ernaux's father had grown into a hard, practical man who showed his family little affection. Narrating his slow ascent towards material comfort, Ernaux's cold observation reveals the shame that haunted her father throughout his life. She scrutinizes the importance he attributed to manners and language that came so unnaturally to him as he struggled to provide for his family with a grocery store and cafe in rural France. Over the course of the book, Ernaux grows up to become the uncompromising observer now familiar to the world, while her father matures into old age with a staid appreciation for life as it is and for a daughter he cautiously, even reluctantly admires. A Man's Place is the companion book to her critically acclaimed memoir about her mother, A Woman's Story.
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``never lay oneself open to criticism--for what are people going to say?'' Her father is a man who's remembered for childhood outings to the circus and beach, but also a figure, a country man at heart, from whom she grew irrevocably away.| Read Full Review of A Man's Place
Although not as painfully immediate as Ernaux's depiction of her mother in A Woman's Story , this is nonetheless an affecting portrait of a man whose own peasant upbringing typified the adage that a child should never be better educated than his parents.| Read Full Review of A Man's Place