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In her latest work, Annie Ernaux recounts a relationship with a student thirty years her junior – an experience that transforms her, briefly, back into the ‘scandalous girl’ of her youth. When she is with him, she replays scenes she has already lived through, feeling both ageless and closer to death. Laid like a palimpsest on the present, the past’s immediacy pushes her to take a decisive step in her writing – producing, in turn, the need to expunge her lover. At once stark and tender, The Young Man is a taut encapsulation of Ernaux’s relationship to time, memory and writing.
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Dimensions: 197 x 125 mm
'Reading her is like getting to know a friend, the way they tell you about themselves over long conversations that sometimes take years, revealing things slowly, looping back to some parts of their life over and over.' - Joanna Biggs, London Review of Books
'Annie Ernaux is one of my favourite contemporary writers, original and true. Always after reading one of her books, I walk around in her world for months.' - Sheila Heti, author of Pure Colour
'I find her work extraordinary.' - Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
'But the brevity has a function. Ernaux's works aren't coy or glancing; they've been sharpened to a point. Though she seems like a writer of details, each book is a vital mission, carried out with thrusting force.' - Tobi Haslet, Harper's
'That Ernaux can do so much - "The Young Man" tackles love, aging, desire, loss, misogyny, class and death - in such a small space is clearly the hallmark of a writer who has honed her craft to be razor sharp. It cuts to the bone.' - Jessica Ferri, The Washington Post
'Ernaux has inherited de Beauvoir's role of chronicler to a generation.' - Margaret Drabble, The New Statesman
'Across the ample particularities of over forty years and twenty-one books, almost all short, subject-driven memoirs, Ernaux has fundamentally destabilized and reinvented the genre in French literature.' - Audrey Wollen, The Nation
'The Young Man is another opportunity to journey with Ernaux as she peels back an experience...' - Pat Reber, Artsfuse
'Like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, Ernaux's affair should be counted as one of the great liaisons of literature.... I suspect the book will become a kind of totem for lovers: a manual to help them find their centre when, like Ernaux, they are lost in love. All her books have the quality of saving frail human details from oblivion. Together they tell, in fragments, the story of a woman in the twentieth century who has lived fully, sought out pain and happiness equally and then committed her findings truthfully on paper. Her life is our inheritance.' - Ankita Chakraborty, The Guardian (praise for Getting Lost)
'Getting Lost is a feverish book. It's about being impaled by desire, and about the things human beings want, as opposed to the things for which they settle ... it's one of those books about loneliness that, on every page, makes you feel less alone.' - Dwight Garner, The New York Times (praise for Getting Lost)
'From the very first lines, we feel ourselves, like her, caught up in the vertigo of waiting, obsessed by the telephone that never rings, time that passes too quickly and the meetings that become less frequent. Love, death and literature are constantly intertwined in this story that plunges us into the intimacy of a couple, without ever giving us the impression of being voyeurs.'> - Pascale Frey, Elle (praise for Getting Lost)
'Ernaux has once more created a living document of existential terror and hope.' - Catherine Taylor, The Irish Times (praise for Getting Lost)
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