Exteriors – WINNER OF THE 2022 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE - Annie Ernaux - E-Book


Annie Ernaux

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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.

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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

‘I devoured – not once, but twice – Fitzcarraldo’s new English edition of Simple Passion, in which the great Annie Ernaux describes the suspended animation of a love affair with a man who is not free. Every paragraph, every word, brought me closer to a state of purest yearning…’ — Rachel Cooke, Observer

‘What mesmerizes here, as elsewhere in Ernaux’s oeuvre, is the interplay between the solipsistic intensity of the material and its documentary, disinterested, almost egoless presentation. Reminiscent of the poet Denise Riley’s Time Lived, Without its Flow, a study of how grief mangles chronology, Simple Passion is a riveting investigation, in a less tragic key, into what happens to one’s experience of time in the throes of romantic obsession.’   — Lola Seaton, New Statesman

‘A stunning story, despite its detachment and the careful exclusions of any excess, that pulsates with the very passion Ernaux so truthfully describes... Small, but abundantly wise.’ —  Kirkus

Praise for A Man’s Place

‘An affecting portrait of a man whose own peasant upbringing typified the adage that a child should never be better educated than his parents.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘An unsentimental portrait of a man loved as a parent, admired as an individual but, because of habits and edu-cation, heartbreakingly apart. Moving and memorable.’   — Kirkus

Praise for A Girl’s Story

‘Ernaux is an unusual memoirist: she distrusts her memory... Ernaux does not so much reveal the past —she does not pretend to have any authoritative access to it — as unpack it.’ — Madeleine Schwartz, New Yorker

‘Ernaux has inherited de Beauvoir’s role of chronicler to a generation.’ — Margaret Drabble, New Statesman

‘An exquisite elegy’ —Irish Times

‘For all that A Girl’s Story is intoxicatingly specific about time and place, it is also a story that belongs to any number of selfconsciously clever girls with appetite and no nous, of sexism and sexuality. But it is above all personal. In reclaiming the girl she was, Ernaux becomes her own Orpheus.’  — Spectator

‘Revisiting painful periods is hardly new territory for writers, but Ernaux distills a particular power from the exercise.’  — The New York Times

Praise for The Years

‘The Years is a revolution, not only in the art of auto-biography but in art itself. Annie Ernaux’s book blends memories, dreams, facts and meditations into a unique evocation of the times in which we lived, and live.’ — John Banville, author of Mrs Osmond

‘One of the best books you’ll ever read.’ — Deborah Levy, author of Hot Milk

‘Ravishing and almost oracular with insight, Ernaux’s prose performs an extraordinary dance between collective and intimate, ‘big’ history and private experience. The Years is a philosophical meditation paced as a rollercoaster ride through the decades. How we spend ourselves too quickly, how we reach for meaning but evade it, how to live, how to remember – these are Ernaux’s themes. I am desperate for more.’ — Kapka Kassabova, author of Border

‘The author of one of the most important oeuvres in French literature, Annie Ernaux’s work is as powerful as it is devastating, as subtle as it is seething.’ —Édouard Louis, author of The End of Eddy



Translated by


‘Our real self is not entirely inside of us.’

— Jean-Jacques Rousseau


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