Read A Woman's Story by Annie Ernaux Tanya Leslie Online

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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, anA 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."...

Title : A Woman's Story
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781583225752
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 104 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Woman's Story Reviews

  • M. Sarki
    2019-03-08 19:39

    Annie Ernaux takes no prisoners. All of her books are connected, and all of them quite good.

  • Kimbofo
    2019-02-18 17:33

    Annie Ernaux’s A Woman’s Story is a deeply affecting and brutally honest memoir about the author’s mother and the sometimes-strained relationship they shared.It was first published in France, in 1988, where it became a bestseller. It has just being reissued by Quartet Books — which first published it in English more than 20 years ago — in a rather handsome edition, complete with French flaps.At just 96 pages in length, A Woman’s Story packs quite a lot in. Ernaux not only examines the relationship she had with her mother — often in painstaking, heartbreaking, too-close-for-comfort detail — she also charts her mother’s life from her poor upbringing in a small Normandy town to her marriage and success as a shopkeeper; from her bored (and somewhat meaningless) retirement to her death in a geriatric hospital in Paris where she had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.What emerges is a fascinating portrait of two women tied together by their biological relationship but never, truly, close. While it’s not a rosy account — there’s too much bitterness and conflict between them for that — it does reveal Ernaux’s admiration, her love and her attempt to reconcile her mother’s senile dementia with the “strong, radiant mother she once was”.To read the rest of my review, please visit my blog.

  • Rebecka
    2019-03-03 18:35

    Every time I read something by Ernaux, I feel like she has crawled into my head and dragged out thoughts I didn't really realize I had, but that I recognize as soon as I see on the page. Her language is typically very simple, but the things she writes always contain a layer of staggering honesty and complexity, which is why everything she writes is interesting. The theme of the condition of women is recurrent, which is the category I would put this book in, a close second to La femme gelée (which is a great read if you want to feel bitter in general). The first book I read by Ernaux was Journal du dehors, actually in a French class, and I am SO happy our teacher was French and not Swedish, so that she dared put such a book in the hands of 1st semester French students. People who haven't read Ernaux are missing out.

  • Krumpet
    2019-02-19 20:46

    Le frère siamois de Je ne suis pas sortie de la nuit. L'histoire de la mère, son rapport à sa mère. Ça me donne envie de téléphoner à la mienne.

  • Kirsty
    2019-03-03 19:36

    Annie Ernaux was one of the authors I wanted to get to during 2017, and what better than to tie her together with my Reading the World project? I chose A Woman's Story as my first Ernaux as I had previously heard of it, and because it sounded so powerful. Kirkus Reviews writes that A Woman's Story is 'as much about Everywoman as one particular woman... [which] laconically describes the cruel realities of old age for a woman once vibrant and independent.'The slim memoir chronicles the dementia and death of Ernaux's mother, as well as weaving in aspects of her life and character. Translated from its original French by Tanya Leslie, the prose throughout is measured and careful. This renders some of the more harrowing and touching scenes which Ernaux depicts far more stark and raw than they perhaps would have been had the writing been frilly or overdone in any way. This is particularly so when coming to terms with the death of her mother: 'I would be sitting behind the wheel and suddenly it would hit me. "She will never be alive anywhere in the world again." I couldn't come to terms with the fact that other people behaved normally.'A Woman's Story is a self-confessed writing exercise which Ernaux embarked upon in order to discover; to 'capture the real woman, the one who existed independently from me'. In her own words, she describes the different genres which can be found within her biographical work: 'The more objective aspect of my writing will probably involve a cross between family history and sociology, reality and fiction'.In depicting her mother, who lived in relative poverty in Normandy and was the fourth child in a family of six, Ernaux builds a fascinating portrait of a bygone age. She writes: 'My mother's youth involved trying to escape the dull certainties of her fate: inevitable poverty, the threat of alcoholism and everything else that happened to a factory girl who had slipped into bad habits'. The structure, made up as it is of fragmented memories, works incredibly well here. Ernaux also renders her work achingly honest, and so personal: 'As I write, I see her sometimes as a "good," sometimes as a "bad" mother. To get away from these contrasting views, which come from my earliest childhood, I try to describe and explain her life as if I were writing about someone else's mother and a daughter who wasn't me'.Ernaux somehow manages to be both frank and heartfelt throughout, making A Woman's Story both an important exercise in biography for its author, and a fascinating tome for the everyday reader.

  • Chad Post
    2019-02-26 22:46

    Like the other Ernaux books I've read, this is a really straightforward novel, concise, devoid of crazy plot twists or hidden secrets or any of the other plot devices that we usually think of when we think of fiction. Although as Ernaux writes, this book about her mother's life, Alzheimer's, and death isn't really a work of fiction: "Naturally, this isn't a biography, neither is it a novel, maybe a cross between literature, sociology, and history. It was only when my mother--born in an oppressed world from which she wanted to escape--became history that I started to feel less alone and out of place in a world ruled by words and ideas, the world where she had wanted me to live."The book opens with her mother's death and--in a passive, distant tone--relates the details surrounding her funeral. By backtracking to her grandparents, then advancing through her mother's childhood, and on through her own birth, her struggles against her mother, etc., the narrative gains a certain strength when the reader re-experiences the mother's death. It's no longer an mother who has passed away, but a specific person with specific qualities. You can literally read this in an hour (or three if you're sitting in Bounce-it-Out ignoring the screams of all the city's children), yet thanks to Ernaux's precision, it *feels* a lot bigger than that. There's a certain honesty to her straight tellings that's refreshing in the face of most contemporary writing. (FYI: Going to read a bunch of her books in preparation for an event on February 24th with Ernaux and Rick Moody.)

  • Carol Balawyder
    2019-03-06 17:44

    I have always loved Ernaux’s prose and A Woman’s Story did not disappoint. In this biography/novel Ernaux, now middle-aged, reconstructs her deceased mother’s past in her attempts to keep her “alive”.The book is bitter-sweet in its account of intense grief and its tender tribute to her mother. As in all her writing, Ernaux does not sugar coat. How can she when what she is seeking is the truth about her mother? A Woman’s Story is a powerful love story between mother and daughter. It is a tender tribute to an estranged relationship. Ernaux’s writing is sharp and she makes no attempt to soften the truth which is probably why it is so touching.

  • Bethany
    2019-03-12 23:24

    Beautiful and very touching. It made me think about life... my own mother... getting older someday... the people who are our connections to the past...I thought the last paragraph was so beautifully sad:"I shall never hear the sound of her voice again. It was her voice, together with her words, her hands, and her way of moving and laughing, which linked the woman I am to the child I once was. The last bond between me and the world I come from has been severed."

  • Sarah
    2019-03-02 00:42

    Another book from the same college course (French Women's Autobiographies) as A Very Easy Death, Ernaux tells the story of her mother's life, interspersing it with sections about dealing with her death. Very moving.

  • Michal
    2019-03-17 19:37

    all her books are autobiography. i didn't know anyone did this.

  • María
    2019-03-01 18:36

    En esta corta historia la autora nos narra la vida de su madre y de su relación con ella. Una historia bastante diferente de lo que siempre se asocia con Francia, pues no es usual para mí leer sobre la pobreza en los países europeos. A través de los años, vemos envejecer a ésta mujer que siempre fue consciente de su "inferioridad" y como se preocupa por su status en la sociedad e intenta constantemente aparentar lo que no es. Pero es la mujer que de verdad era la que es digna de admiración. Vivió la vida según sus propias reglas y sólo la venció la muerte. Los libros eran los únicos objetos que manipulaba con precaución. Se lavaba las manos antes de tocarlos.

  • Daniela
    2019-02-25 23:40

    Y no hay mejor regalo para dar que escribir sobre ese alguien que se amó y se amará. Entre la vida misma y la literatura compatible para los demás, Ernaux encuentra la manera precisa y espléndida de describir a ese ser que como amor entiende sacrificio y entrega ante la felicidad de ese a quien llama hijo, una madre. Esas conexiones y ligamentos, esos parecidos inevitables, esas vergüenzas ajenas, todo queda en nuestra construcción como individuos, todo como un casi ejemplo de lo que esa mujer esmera por la felicidad de su niño. No es una novela, tampoco una biografía, para mi es la descripción extensa de una vida llena de recuerdos y cariños para quien le debemos una vida llena de felicidad. (Segundo libro con el que lloro).

  • Saskia
    2019-03-11 20:31

    Dit boek is het verhaal van Ernaux' moeder en een poging van de schrijfster om met haar dood en de herinneringen om te gaan. Veel Franse schrijvers produceren tegenwoordig dit soort boeken. Kennelijk denken ze dat hun persoonlijke verhalen de lezers interesseren. Ik ben er geen groot fan van, maar dit boek is wel goed geschreven en oprecht. Geen grootse literatuur, maar ook niet zo bedoeld. Wel herkenbaar en een mooi portret van een gewone vrouw.

  • Isabel Hollingum
    2019-03-09 19:28

    Ernaux's discussions of class and social mobility are entirely unrivalled by any other author I've ever read. Une Femme (and La Place) are total triumphs.

  • Paco
    2019-03-14 00:44

    Me encantó la manera tan simple de narrar una vida sencilla pero llena de complejidad.

  • Ümit Vefa Bıyıkoğlu
    2019-02-26 20:36

    Bu kitabin besten sonraki yildizlari bende.

  • Lorenz Risk
    2019-03-11 18:43

    Clear cut, "objective" narration of her mother's life and rising from the lower class.

  • Joan Lieberman
    2019-03-01 20:35

    My editor, Emma Komlos-Hrobsky, recommended this book. It was so powerful, I put down my own pen for several months.

  • María Clara
    2019-03-09 23:39

    En esta corta historia la autora nos narra la vida de su madre y de su relación con ella. Una historia bastante diferente de lo que siempre se asocia con Francia, pues no es usual para mí leer sobre la pobreza en los países europeos. A través de los años, vemos envejecer a ésta mujer que siempre fue consciente de su "inferioridad" y como se preocupa por su status en la sociedad e intenta constantemente aparentar lo que no es. Pero es la mujer que de verdad era la que es digna de admiración. Vivió la vida según sus propias reglas y sólo la venció la muerte. Los libros eran los únicos objetos que manipulaba con precaución. Se lavaba las manos antes de tocarlos.

  • Agoaye Leblog
    2019-02-21 17:29

    Un roman tout en amour et en discrétion. Une pudeur magnifique nous entraîne dans la découverte de cette femme, mère de l'auteure, qui commence l'écriture après l'avoir perdue.Beaucoup de passages m'ont bouleversés.C'est une très belle plume.

  • Linda
    2019-03-18 22:24

    Written over a year's time - April 1986-February 1987 - when the author was coming to terms with her mother's death, Eernaux is telling the story as much to define her mother to herself as to the reader, to experience the times and places the two shared when her mother was still alive. Pockets of reminiscences take Ernaux back to before her mother was born, to the society/family/culture in which she (the mother) grew up. In telling the story, Ernaux enters a difficult period, when her mother's story stops, as Ernaux writes,because her mother was slowly entering the abyss of Alzheimer's. "I have found it more and more difficult to write, possibly because I would like never to reach this point. And yet I know I shall have no peace of mind until I find the words which will reunite the demented woman she had become with the strong, radiant woman she once was." I am not familiar with Annie Ernaux or her writing style. This short story is written in almost an impassive objectively; even so the love story is there, the love of a daughter for her mother. The final paragraph is very moving, "I shall never hear the sound of her voice again. It was her voice, together with her words, her hands, and her way of moving and laughing which linked the woman I am to the child I once was. The last bond between me and the world I come from has been severed."

  • Marianna
    2019-03-15 20:20

    I wanted this book to be good, I really did. The back reads, "Upon her mother's death from Alzheimer's, Ernaux embarks on a daunting journey back through time, as she seeks to explore the bond between mother and daughter.."I don't think she explored anything. The entire book sounded like a report. There is little depth of understanding or exploration. I kept thinking as I turned each page that maybe the story will start soon. It never did.

  • Alyssa
    2019-02-18 18:34

    Annie writes in a very interesting style where she takes a personal life event and makes it impersonal while at the same time inserting herself. She tries to be neutral, which is a very difficult goal considering all her stories revolve around those in her life. Overall, it was a good read. She doesn't use dialogue but manages to capture moments through describing photographs without including them.

  • Suzanne
    2019-02-18 18:46

    Similar to the book about her father and his life and death, this book details the life and death of Annie Ernaux's mother. This book was extremely moving to read and was beautifully written. I really felt the despair and agony that the author felt after her mother's death. The two biographies about the author's parents should be read together, starting with the father and ending with the mother.

  • Miguel Arbusto
    2019-03-19 17:43

    I will never be able to explain how touching this novel was to me. This book is as heart-wrenching as it is short, though the story is never belabored. The book's imagery is immersive without relying upon inaccessible or overly specific references.

  • Diane
    2019-02-24 21:38

    I read this in the original ("Une Femme") and can't vouch for the quality of the English translation, but this short memoir is a masterpiece of clean, clear writing that conveys depth and meaning in subtle but powerful ways.

  • Yvette
    2019-03-17 00:35

    Une mémoire ou un auto-fiction? Je ne sais pas mais je pense que ce livre et une activité captivante ! Ernaux est une écrivaine compétente. Elle écrit de mort comme une lettre au lecteur--c'est presque épistolaire. Cette petite histoire est triste, bien sûr, mais surtout une méditation émouvante.

  • Sophie
    2019-03-05 23:20

    Annie Ernaux, toujours si proche de mon coeur et de ce que je peux ressentir parfois.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-02 23:22

    8/10/2004

  • Sharlene
    2019-02-27 18:33

    From Have mother, will travel