Taking the form of random journal entries over the course of seven years, Exteriors concentrates on the ephemeral encounters that take place just on the periphery of a person’s lived environment. Ernaux captures the feeling of contemporary living on the outskirts of Paris: poignantly lyrical, chaotic, and strangely alive. Exteriors is in many ways the most ecstatic of Ernaux’s books – the first in which she appears largely free of the haunting personal relationships she has written about so powerfully elsewhere, and the first in which she is able to leave the past behind her.
‘I find her work extraordinary.’
— Eimear McBride, author of Strange Hotel
Praise for Simple Passion
‘The triumph of Ernaux’s approach … is to cherish commonplace emotions while elevating the banal expression of them…. A monument to passions that defy simple explanations.’
— New York Times
‘A work of lyrical precision and diamond-hard clarity.’
— New Yorker
‘All this – the suffering and anxiety of waiting, the brief soulagement of lovemaking, the lethargy and fatigue that follow, the renewal of desire, the little indignities and abjections of both obsession and abandonment – Ernaux tells with calm, almost tranquillized matter-of-factness [that] feels like determination, truth to self, clarity of purpose.’
— Washington Post
Born in 1940, Annie Ernaux grew up in Normandy, studied at Rouen University, and later taught at secondary 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. The Years won the Prix Renaudot in France in 2008, the Premio Strega in Italy in 2016, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2019. In 2017, Annie Ernaux was awarded the Marguerite Yourcenar Prize for her life’s work.
Tanya Leslie was the first translator of Annie Ernaux into English and translated a number of her works, including A Woman’s Story (1991), A Man’s Place (1992), Simple Passion (1993), Shame (1998), I Remain in Darkness (1999) and Happening (2001).
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