A Woman's Story by Annie Ernaux

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A Woman’s Story is Annie Ernaux’s "deeply affecting account of mothers and daughters, youth and age, and dreams and reality" (Kirkus Reviews). Upon her mother’s death from Alzheimer’s, 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."

About Annie Ernaux

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Born in 1940, ANNIE ERNAUX grew up in Normandy, studied at Rouen University, and began teaching high school. From 1977 to 2000, she was a professor at the Centre National d'Enseignement par Correspondance. Her books, in particular A Man's Place and A Woman's Story, have become contemporary classics in France. She won the prestigious Prix Renaudot for A Man's Place when it was first published in French in 1984. The English edition was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The English edition of A Woman's Story was a New York Times Notable Book.
Published January 4, 2011 by Seven Stories Press. 96 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Woman's Story

Kirkus Reviews

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As much about Everywoman as one particular woman, French author Ernaux's autobiographical novel laconically describes the cruel realities of old age for a woman once vibrant and independent.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Woman's Story

Publishers Weekly

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This semi-autobiographical novel is a brief, aching requiem for the Prix Renaudot-winning author's mother, a victim of Alzheimer's disease. Ernaux's latest, A Man's Place , will be published in April

Mar 30 1992 | Read Full Review of A Woman's Story

Publishers Weekly

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For this Prix Renaudot-winning author, childhood was not just a time of life but a cottage industry. A trilogy of books intersect at her youth: the story of Ernaux's father, told in La Place ; her sem

Apr 29 1991 | Read Full Review of A Woman's Story

The Bookbag

Yes, it would have benefited from a more in-depth analysis of her mother's character, but we must remember that it was written in the immediate (and topsy-turvy) aftermath of her mother's death.

Apr 10 2014 | Read Full Review of A Woman's Story

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