Read Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux Tanya Leslie Online


In her spare, stark style, Annie Ernaux documents the desires and indignities of a human heart ensnared in an all-consuming passion. Blurring the line between fact and fiction, an unnamed narrator attempts to plot the emotional and physical course of her two-year relationship with a married foreigner where every word, event, and person either provides a connection with herIn her spare, stark style, Annie Ernaux documents the desires and indignities of a human heart ensnared in an all-consuming passion. Blurring the line between fact and fiction, an unnamed narrator attempts to plot the emotional and physical course of her two-year relationship with a married foreigner where every word, event, and person either provides a connection with her beloved or is subject to her cold indifference. With courage and exactitude, she seeks the truth behind an existence lived entirely for someone else, and, in the pieces of its aftermath, she is able to find it....

Title : Simple Passion
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781583225745
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 80 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Simple Passion Reviews

  • Antigone
    2019-02-28 12:39

    At a spare sixty-one pages, Annie Ernaux's account of a woman's experience with all-consuming passion is mercifully brief.And this is a mercy because, for a woman of the current cultural age, great shame attaches to the knowledge that the self can be surrendered so cheaply and completely; that one can and does make a willing transformation, compelled by pure emotional need, into the servant of another's whim. To perceive oneself alive only in his presence, to recognize his absence as a kind of death; sensing the slip into a holding pattern; held in reserve through his inattendance like a toy set once again to its shelf. This is a difficult reality to address. We do this. It happens. No one really talks about it, yet we get the sense we have humiliated ourselves and should never, ever let it happen again.And this is why Ernaux's analysis of the phenomenon is important. Her terse and brutally honest conveyance of the id-ness of it all - the primitive hunger, the compulsive grasping, the self-serving nature of every interpersonal transaction - without the trappings of romance or the yardstick of morality, allows for the creation of an equally honest internal space in which we might reflect on our own experience with obsession, enslavement, and lust.Frankly, I think this is the drive behind the massive popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey. It's the hunt for a place in which we might safely inspect passion and shame. Having read both, I can tell you this: What E.L. James dismisses, Annie Ernaux provides.

  • Jana
    2019-03-09 20:50

    This book reminded me of exactly how I felt when I fell for a married man. Intense and overwhelming chemistry was swallowing us. For me it was an experiment (I was very young and naive) and for him being fifteen years older it was a thrill of his own. I had never experienced such mind losing magnetism with any other man before and there was something so decadent in our relationship. I didn’t feel ashamed, I didn’t have a reason, he didn’t have any whatsoever guilt trips and I was 20 and living my student life with a full blown adrenaline rush. But he was with a reason driving me mad and I was willingly doing this to him as well. Just, this kind of passion is so extreme that it makes you do things that you wouldn’t normally do; it makes you cross your moral boundaries without any guilty conscious nibbling. When I look back at those days, I roll my eyes although there was something so animal and wildly exciting when we saw each other for the first time so that unharming violent passion that we had was in a way appropriate for that time. Nowadays I would never go into those kind of complicated relationships because of the numerous vivid overheated reasons and because of the countless hidden struggles and scars that are left behind. Just like Ernaux said and just like she thanks passage of time for knowing that.But again, never say never. Old flames are not always dead matches.

  • sofía
    2019-03-08 17:33

    This summer for the first time, I watched an X-rated film on Canal Plus. My television set doesn't have a decoder; the images on the screen were blurred, the words replaced by strange sound effects, hissing and babbling, a different sort of language, soft and continuous. One could make out the figure of a woman in a corset and stockings, and a man. The story was incomprehensible; it was impossible to predict any of their actions or movements. The man walked up to the woman. There was a close-up of the woman's genitals, clearly visible among the shimmering of the screen, then of the man's penis, fully erect, sliding into the woman's vagina.+ thomas ruff's nudes-In museums I saw only the works representing love. I was drawn to statues of naked men. In them I recognised the shape of A's shoulders, his loins, his penis, and especially the slight hollow following the inner curve of his thigh up to the groin. I was unable to tear myself away from Michelangelo's David, filled with wonder that a man, and not a woman, had portrayed the beauty of a male body so sublimely. Even if this could be explained by the oppressed condition of women, it seemed to me that something had been irretrievably lost.+ laure albine guillot I wanted to remember his body with all my being—from his hair down to the tips of his toes. I could conjure up, vividly, his green eyes, the lock of his hair falling over his forehead, the curve of his shoulders. I could feel his teeth, the inside of his mouth, the shape of this thighs, the texture of his skin. I reflected that there was very little difference between this reconstruction and an hallucination, between memory and madness.-As soon as he left, I would be overcome by a wave of fatigue. I wouldn't tidy up straight away: I would sit staring at the glasses, the plates and the leftovers, the overflowing ashtray, the clothes, the lingerie strewn all over the bedroom and the hallway, the sheets spilling over on to the carpet. I would have liked to keep that mess the way it was—a mess in which every object evoked a caress or a particular moment, forming a still-life whose intensity and pain could never, for me, be captured by any painting in a museum. Naturally I would never wash until the next day, to keep his sperm inside me.I would count the number of times we had made love. I felt that each time something new had been added to our relationship but that somehow this very accumulation of touching and pleasure would eventually draw us apart. We were burning a capital of desire. What we gained in physical intensity we lost in time.+ ilse bing- Between last May, when I stopped writing, and today, 6 February 1991, the expected conflict between Iraq and the Western coalition has finally broken out. A 'clean war' according to the propagandists, although Iraq has already received 'more bombs than the whole of Germany during the Second World War' (this evening's edition of Le Monde) and eyewitnesses claim to have seen children stumbling through the streets of Baghdad like drunkards, deafened by the explosions.

  • piperitapitta
    2019-02-19 20:45

    L'Origine du monde.«Il tempo della scrittura non ha nulla a che vedere con quello della passione.»Scarnifica e viviseziona la sua passione di donna adulta e divorziata, madre e insegnante, la sua passione per A., uomo più giovane e straniero, sposato.Lo fa nel suo modo consueto, Annie Ernaux - «Non faccio la cronaca di una relazione, non racconto una storia (che mi sfugge per metà) con una cronologia precisa [...] Affastello soltanto i segni di una passione, oscillando senza posa tra "sempre" e "un giorno", come se un tale inventario mi possa permettere di raggiungere la realtà di quella passione.”» - attraverso una scrittura (al solito) solo apparentemente piana e priva di emozione, per mezzo di episodi e momenti che nella narrazione appaiono come schegge di una passione insaziabile, matura, incontrollata, descritta minuziosamente in ogni sua fase e meccanismo: ora stupefacente, ora animalesca - [...] in certi momenti contano per lei [i figli] quanto per una gatta in amore, impaziente di andare per gatti, i suoi micini ormai cresciuti.» - ora complice, ora aliena a tutto ciò che la circonda, attraverso i suoi elenchi, che pur schematizzando la passione non fanno altro che renderla più vicina, più comprensibile. - «Ho misurato il tempo in modo diverso, con tutto il mio corpo. Ho scoperto di cosa si può essere capaci, cioè di tutto.»È una passione carnale, quella che descrive, che travolge tutti i sensi, per un uomo che è completamente differente da lei, in cui le differenze - di età, di nazionalità, di cultura - si annullano nel loro rapporto clandestino durante le due o tre ore che trascorrono insieme occasionalmente, e intorno alle quali tutto ruota: presenza o assenza - Sin dal mese di settembre non ho fatto altro che aspettare un uomo - tutto ciò che è all'infuori di A. e della sua presenza perde di significato, tutto conduce ad A., tutto è preparazione alla sua presenza, quando verrà, finché verrà.Ancora una volta Annie Ernaux è capace, con disarmante semplicità e senza artificio, di colpire il bersaglio; anche quando il bersaglio è il suo cuore ferito, e di disseminare le poche pagine con cui analizza e disseziona la sua passione di frasi che lasciano il segno, incidono la carne viva e si imprimono nella mente come una condanna, come un'assoluzione.Splendido, forse anche cinque stelle.«Quando ero bambina, lusso significava per me pellicce, abiti lunghi, e ville sulla riva del mare. Più tardi, ho creduto che fosse condurre una vita intellettuale. Mi sembra ora che sia anche poter vivere una passione per un uomo o per una donna.»

  • Evan
    2019-03-06 16:58

    "I do not wish to explain my passion -- that would imply that it were a mistake or some disorder I need to justify -- I just want to describe it." (p. 23)I hate reading books like this, because they make me want to be in love again.At the same time, the yin and the yang ... I love reading books like this. They are like bon bons. And they remind me of when my whole being was electrified and puffed up and full, and then of the aftermath when my insides exploded and left a wreck that jangled around like shattered metal and I couldn't move or think without feeling all of that. The insides kept ripping from the shards. The sinew heals with a lot of scar tissue.This is one of those French reflective inner-thought books of super-concentrated yearning. It is like the diary of a woman who finds herself in a particular kind of limbo that happens when the afterglow of a love has passed, the passion has morphed, the desire to re-live it remains in memory, but the realistic distance of self-reflection has interceded. It's part Duras (not as oblique), part Catherine Millet (not as pretentious), and maybe someone else I can't place. It evokes those mixed confusing feelings that arise from coping, remembering and cherishing. The way Ernaux describes these feelings is very familiar. I recognize a lot in it. I've had many of the precise thoughts she describes, thoughts I've never seen described elsewhere.It's a book about lovers who remain strangers, like all lovers, but who suspend disbelief and do not care. It's about the futility of recapturing a fantasy, but holding a memory as reality.Books like this help us re-center, help us to remember that passion hasn't died; that the civil pleasures are all well and good and necessary for sanity. Yet, when we are at our height, we are irresponsible and oblivious to all but the oblivion of love that obliterates all.This book could be accused of being slight, but it's well done; especially if you just want to sigh and dream and feel.(KevinR@Ky 2016)

  • Camille
    2019-02-25 12:38

    "Quand j'étais enfant, le luxe, c'était pour moi les manteaux de fourrure, les robes longues et les villas au bord de la mer. Plus tard, j'ai cru que c'était de mener une vie d'intellectuel. Il me semble maintenant que c'est aussi de pouvoir vivre une passion pour un homme ou une femme."... Et voilà, je vous ai complètement spoilé la fin du bouquin, et vous ne vous en êtes même pas rendu compte ! Haha !Dans "Passion simple', Annie Ernaux revient sur une histoire d'amour adultère, aussi intense que peu développée, vécue quelques années plus tôt avec un dénommé A., qui est blond, qui vient d'un pays de l'Est, et qui a connu Cuba. Plus que la description de leur histoire, c'est en réalité le temps arrêté de la passion qui intéresse l'auteure. Elle décrit l'attente et le dévouement, plus qu'elle ne fait le portrait des deux amants à ce moment de leur vie. J'ai toujours trouvé l'écriture d'Annie Ernaux assez peu intéressante (même si, je sais, c'est justement sa blancheur - vous avez dit platitude ? - qui fait sa marque) ; et c'est avec le temps que j'ai véritablement pris la mesure de certains de ses textes, comme "Une femme", "La Place", ou "La femme gelée" - disons qu'en les lisant sur le moment j'ai pu les trouver anecdotiques, même si le style m'avait interpellée, puis le fait qu'ils me restent en mémoire m'a fait comprendre à quel point ils m'avaient marquée. Il y a une certaine fascination chez les lecteurs d'Annie Ernaux : elle raconte toujours la même chose, toujours du même point de vue, et toujours avec les mêmes mots, mais peu importe : on veut quand même toujours lire ce qu'elle a à écrire. C'est au-delà du voyeurisme, je pense que son oeuvre se construit vraiment en tant qu'oeuvre, et ne peut s'aborder qu'en tant que telle. En un mot, lisez tout, ou ne lisez rien. Pourtant, dans le remous d'une vie qu'on passe à l'écriture, dans l'écume des jours comme dirait l'autre, il y a forcément des sommets, et des creux de la vague. Si "La Place" est un sommet, "Passion simple" est peut-être bien un creux. Le texte, d'une lecture facile et rapide, paraît finalement assez anecdotique. Les images et les jugements sont les mêmes, d'une simplicité qui confine au banal. Certains paragraphes sont navrants, d'autres nous réveillent brièvement. Ordinaire.Alors ça exaspère. Parce qu'on se dit que c'est ce que n'importe qui aurait pu noter sur un cahier. Celui-ci, je l'oublierai.

  • Suzanne
    2019-02-22 14:39

    "Whether or not he was 'worth it' is of no consequence. And the fact that all this is gradually slipping away from me, as if it concerned another woman, does not change this one truth: thanks to him, I was able to approach the frontier separating me from others, to the extent of actually believing that I could sometimes cross over it. I measured time differently, with all my body. I discovered what people are capable of, in other words, anything: sublime or deadly desires, lack of dignity, attitudes and beliefs I had found absurd in others until I myself turned to them. Without knowing it, he brought me closer to the world." The above passage comes at the end of Ernaux's Simple Passion, and each time I read this small book, I do the same thing. I get to this part at the end where her lover returns, for a day, a moment. He is 38 now, upon return, youthful but weary (a perfect description of 38). I expect it will be like the end of The Lover--I read expecting this, each time, marveling at how Ernaux in her French elegance invokes Duras.But then it fails. Or subverts expectation. The lover disappoints. He does not say what Duras' narrator's lover says, that he's always loved her. He is callous. And it is perfect this way, how it invokes The Lover and then rejects The Lover, as Ernaux notes that it was another woman entirely: "as if it concerned another woman" because of course it did.I’ve long been drawn to Ernaux's writing, to her freedom--the freedom or courage she has to write her experience. Simple Passion is among my favorites, a book that chronicles an affair, that becomes about the erotics of writing, the pleasure of that, which is linked to the pleasure of the body. The shame, too, which comes later.

  • Nicole
    2019-02-19 20:54

    "From September last year, I did nothing else but wait for a man: for him to call me and come round to my place." (1%)This book surprised me. It wasn't what I expected and to be exposed to the raw emotion and sincerity of the narrator touched me deeply. The opening of the novel gripped me and never let go until I finished it in one sitting. I appreciated the singular focus of it: the woman and her affair with the madness of love itself. It is a bare, tender and crude retelling of her torrid love affair with the married man, A. The way she described him made you fall for him too. Her words are filled with emotion, urgency, and a certain distance as if she isn't completely sure she didn't conjure A to respond to a longing that plagued her. She wrote it all down as a way to preserve her memories as best as she could. "The partly erased frescoes in Santa Croce moved me because of my story, which would come to resemble them one day--fading fragments in his memory and in mine." (52%)Contrary to the heroines of the early French literature who fought fiercely against the whims of their passions, this unnamed narrator surrendered to the infatuation that shaped her reality and her emotional state without reserve. She lives in perpetual pause waiting for her lover. She loves in secret but even so, her writing and her love are both savage, compelling and absorbing. Truly, this book blurs the line between romantic and depressing but even so, I can't stop myself from loving it.

  • Kelly
    2019-02-18 18:43

    Honesty. That the first thing I love about this book. The extent of the honesty- to a pathetic, sad fault. But it is unashamed about it. And that's the other thing.I was expecting the French to give it an increased sensuality or more of a dreamlike quality that would distract me from what was actually happening with the beauty of its expression. Instead, it gave it even more of a brtual edge, I think.Fitting.

  • M. Sarki
    2019-02-26 17:39 book has been placed on the shelf of every house I have lived in since 1995. I have kept my first printing in the best collectible condition I possibly could keep it in. The hardcover book has a Brodart archival dust jacket sleeve protecting it, and though I had never read the book, I kept it proudly displayed as if I had. So after five different homes and five different book shelves, Annie Ernaux's words finally found their way into my consciousness just as she was hoping for back when she wrote it in 1991. Her not so simple passion made public between us, her affair now open also to the world in which I currently keep my personal, and continuously aging, self. It isn't hard for me to imagine the countless other affairs similar to Ernaux's that haven't been so consciously visited as thoroughly and made into a book for our public consumption. The fact that Ernaux's sexual passion for a younger married man is confessed to and described in total here between the covers of this book makes the actions of these lovers no more and no less palatable than anything Marguerite Duras may have written for us several years before. They are both very talented writers. The additional truth that Duras and Ernaux are both French and smart is extremely exciting to me, and knowing these tidbits wets my monstrous appetite for desire and my constant need for finding more ways to fill it. There isn't anything in this extremely well-written book that has made me question or worry about something I may or might have done myself to enrich a long life of mundane work and the raising of a decent family within the confines of a monogamous marriage. But if I ventured off to foreign lands and enmeshed my legs within the sweat and stains of another not my wife, and this same other offers me the excitement of a longer dream than I could manage within the confines of my own personal and gifted imagination, then all the more richer for the fun and fury of an elicit affair I have become. Of course, in regards to my own pathetic self, there are always consequences and the puritan guilt to accompany my travel home to the one who supposedly still loves me. So the question for me isn't if the younger married man was a bastard for cheating on his wife, or that unbending religious shame that must certainly be hung on Annie for tempting him and giving him an always willing residence for his carnal pleasure, but instead the issue of why us not the hell be also fucking around and living this one life to its fullest? At the very least, by reading and completing this little gem, we have also become complicit in their affair. But, screw-loose or not, the naughtiness of it feels somewhat healthy to me. I will never know this in the biblical sense as an affair is not in the cards for me. To be daily entangled already with the love of my life after all the pain and the years involved in getting to the sweeter meat of our relationship, to cheat or not to cheat is never the question. It is only, and always, the question whether it is true of what she says that she is somewhat happy? But after finally sitting myself down to finish the reading of this book it is never clear to me that Annie is, or becomes, ever happy herself, or what her life is really made of. But I can tell you this. What is left for Annie Ernaux, and now us, is the stain that remains from a love never broken as one never made.

  • Suni
    2019-03-09 16:55

    Il mondo, dunque, ricominciava a significare al di fuori di A.? L’uomo dei gatti del circo di Mosca, l’accappatoio di spugna, Barbizon, tutto il testo costruito nella mia mente giorno dopo giorno sin dalla prima notte, con immagini, gesti, parole – l’insieme dei segni che costituiscono il romanzo non scritto di una passione, cominciano a disfarsi. Di quel testo vivente, questo non è che il residuo, la lieve traccia. Al pari dell’altro, un giorno, non sarà per me più nulla.Non riesco tuttavia a lasciarlo, come non ho potuto lasciare A. lo scorso anno, in primavera, quando la mia attesa e il mio desiderio di lui erano ininterrotti; pur sapendo che, al contrario della vita, non ho nulla da sperare dalla scrittura, da cui riemerge solo ciò che vi si è messo.La solita Annie Ernaux, che qui racconta, analizzandola e scomponendola fino quasi alle particelle subatomiche, una storia d'amore totalizzante con un uomo sposato, più giovane e straniero.Per circa un anno la sua mente è stata occupata esclusivamente da questo amore, dall'attesa, dalla pianificazione degli incontri, dalle poche ore insieme e dallo struggimento non appena lui se ne andava.Pochi possono scrivere così senza annoiare a morte il lettore. Pochi sanno scrivere così.

  • Taylor
    2019-02-26 16:35

    My roommate/friend Mita recommended this one to me, and I'm glad she did. it's a very quick, engrossing read - I think it took me half of a day to read.Very simply, this is a portrait of one woman's position as a mistress to a married man, and how her passion for him consumes her. this passion is largely one sideded (though obviously not entirely), since he is in a relationship, and comes and goes as he pleases. It's a very accurate, touching and beautiful portrayal of someone engrossed and swept away by a romance, and anyone who's felt intensely for another person will find plenty to relate to within these pages.Figures - who better to write about passion than the french!

  • Tara
    2019-03-09 20:33

    This novel is somewhere between an autobiographic account, a novella, a philosophical meandering, and an investigation of psychology. It's about the author's experience with intense sexual obsession. I read it in a single sitting. The writing is quite beautiful and the author's exploration of her experience is interesting. Not five stars but still pretty awesome.

  • Vishy
    2019-02-22 12:36

    ‘Simple Passion’ by Annie Ernaux was one of the books mentioned in Lance Donaldson-Evans’ ‘One Hundred Great French Books’. I haven’t heard of Annie Ernaux before and so decided to try this book. I read it in one sitting and finished it yesterday. Here is what I think.‘Simple Passion’, at around sixty pages, is not really a novel. With wide spacing between lines and with luxurious space on the borders of the page, it could be called, at best, a novella or probably a long short story. It is not clear from the book whether it is fiction or a memoir. The classification on the back cover says ‘Literature / Memoir’. The narrator of the book describes the affair she once had with a married man from a different country who was working in Paris. The only way they communicated was by phone when the man called her and told her he was going to visit her. She then waited for him to visit, anxiously preparing herself – getting the right clothes, wearing the right makeup, getting food and drink for the evening, preparing herself emotionally – but also looking forward to the visit with a lot of excitement. But then he comes, they have intimate moments together, he leaves and then she is worn out. And she starts the long agonizing wait for the next phone call from him. At some point she stops seeing her friends, going out for movies or having any kind of social life as she is waiting for her lover’s phone call, when she is not working (this was during the days before the advent of the mobile phone). The narrator’s thoughts about this whole affair comprise the rest of the book. ‘Simple Passion’ is an interesting book. There is not much of a plot here – the plot can be told in two lines. The book is mostly about the narrator’s thoughts on life, love, longing, waiting, the agony of parting. I am pretty sure it will deeply resonate with anyone who has had an affair or even with anyone who has ever been in love. Annie Ernaux’s prose is spare and simple, but there are beautiful sentences in every page. Though I read it in one sitting, I read it very slowly and enjoyed lingering over those beautiful sentences. For example, she describes the brief time she spends with her lover as :An interval of time squeezed in between two car noises – his Renault 25 braking, then driving off againAnd she describes her feelings after her lover leaves like this :As soon as he left, I would be overcome by a wave of fatigue. I wouldn’t tidy up straight away. I would sit staring at the glasses, the plates and their leftovers, the overflowing ashtray, the clothes, the lingerie strewn all over the bedroom and the hallway, the sheets spilling over on to the carpet. I would have liked to keep that mess the way it was – a mess in which every object evoked a caress or a particular moment, forming a still-life whose intensity and pain could never, for me, be captured by any painting in a museum. In another place the narrator describes how she used to shop for new outfits to look beautiful for her lover when he visited her the next time :In his absence, I was only happy when I was out buying new dresses, earrings, stockings, and trying them on at home in front of the mirror – the ideal, quite impossible, being that he should see me each time in a different outfit. He would only glimpse my new blouse or pumps for a couple of minutes before they were discarded in some corner until he left. Of course I realized how pointless new clothes were in the event of his feeling desire for another woman. But presenting myself in clothes he had already seen seemed a mistake, a slackening in the quest for perfection for which I strove in my relationship with him.In another place the narrator talks about the imperfection of communication with her lover and how paradoxically, this imperfection is sometimes perfect.At first I was discouraged by the obvious limitations of our exchanges. These were emphasized by the fact that, although he spoke fairly good French, I could not express myself in his language. Later I realized that this situation spared me the illusion that we shared a perfect relationship, or even formed a whole. Because his French strayed slightly from standard use and because I occasionally had doubts about the meaning he gave to words, I was able to appreciate the approximate quality of our conversations. From the very beginning, and throughout the whole of our affair, I had the privilege of knowing what we all find out in the end : the man we love is a complete stranger.Sometimes we think that writing about something which affected us deeply helps us make sense of it and is therapeutic, but the narrator of the story says something different :I know full well that I can expect nothing from writing, which, unlike real life, rules out the unexpected. To go on writing is also a means of delaying the trauma of giving this to others to read. I hadn’t considered this eventuality while I still felt the need to write. But now that I have satisfied this need, I stare at the written pages with astonishment and something resembling shame, feelings I certainly never felt when I was living out my passion and writing about it. The prospect of publication brings me closer to people’s judgment and the “normal” values of society. (Having to answer questions such as “Is it an autobiography?” and having to justify this or that may have stopped many books from seeing the light of day, except in the form of a novel, which succeeds in saving appearances.) At this point, sitting in front of the pages covered in my indecipherable scrawlings, which only I can interpret, I can still believe this is something private, almost childish, of no consequence whatsoever – like the declarations of love and the obscene expressions I used to write on the back of my exercise books in class, or anything else one may write calmly, in all impunity, when there is no risk of it being read. Once I start typing out the text, once it appears before me in public characters, I shall be through with innocence.Annie Ernaux ends the book with this beautiful passage :When I was a child, luxury was fur coats, evening dresses, and villas by the sea. Later on, I thought it meant leading the life of an intellectual. Now I feel that it is also being able to live out a passion for a man or a woman.I have to say that I have got the ‘leading the life of an intellectual’ part right – so I can say that my life is filled with luxury, in a way :)‘Simple Passion’ is a beautiful, slim gem. It is a book to be savoured over a winter evening warming oneself next to a fire having a drink. Or alternately, it can be savoured on a warm summer evening, watching the sun set, while sitting outdoors in the garden and sipping a delicious cup of tea. I want to read other books of Annie Ernaux now. Have you read ‘Simple Passion’ by Annie Ernaux? What do you think about it?

  • Natalye
    2019-03-05 13:40

    "Simple Passion" -Annie Ernaux (1991)I'm torn between liking and disliking this book. It begins a bit slowly for me, and tends to drag on through the first half, describing this woman's affair with a man we as the readers never quite come to know. While I wasn't pulled into it right away, there is something to be said about Ernaux's writing style (or the translation, or perhaps a combination of both) that makes it a quick read. Toward the second half, the book really starts to become interesting, as we hear more about the details of this evasive lover, and what he was like... then come the uninhibited thoughts of the narrator, who shares details that portray her as obsessed and powerless, living only for the brief satisfaction this secret lover gives her. These are the moments when it is most desperate but perhaps most interesting.The main downfall of this book for me is that it only lets the reader in so much, but then closes him or her back out. But maybe that's the intended effect? Additionally, the last handful of pages which are a self-reflection on the art of writing the book are slightly introspective and interesting, but mostly just kind of unnecessary (in my mind). It kind of killed what, for me, could have been a much more powerful ending.Began: September 2010Ended: September 2010Pages: 64

  • Julie
    2019-02-22 17:43

    Okay, so it's a little obsessive but hey, we've all been there. Ernaux writes what the rest of us experience but are too ashamed to admit. Read it in the original French... it makes it seem less creepy and more passionate.

  • Ariane Gagnon
    2019-02-16 19:55

    Très «journal intime», il ne s'y passe pas grand chose, et l'on se demande l'intérêt de publier ce texte publiquement. L'ancêtre du blog trop personnel ? Peut-être.

  • Blanca García
    2019-02-27 16:50

    Pese a mi descomunal enfado por la pérdida económica que siempre acarrea comprobar que se ha adquirido BASURA, tengo que reconocer que necesitaba leer un libro así; llevaba demasiado tiempo leyendo sólo grandes obras literarias, por lo que algo tendría que frenar la racha o todo sería demasiado sunshine, lollypops, et caetera, et caetera.Bazofia machista de encefalograma plano. Podría plagar esta reseña con citas constantes de cada una de las páginas del libro que corroboran este hecho, pero aun aprecio más mi salud estético-ética que mi credibilidad. Confiaré en resultar convincente sin pruebas.Sueños colmados de madurita de clase media fóllame y te echo tanto de menos si no me follas. Tienes que dominarme con tu coche vas tan rápido por los pasajes de París, ya no puedo comprarme lencería pícara desde que no estás a mi lado.Y aun continué hasta el final creyendo que pudiera ser una broma, una paradoja posmoderna, qué sé yo, que todo diera un giro argumental en la búsqueda por encontrarle algo de identidad a la protagonista (por momentos resulta hasta paródica) en su fantasía post-pornográfica. Pero no. Folletín sin más. Lucía Grandes all-around. Y que en el fondo me estoy haciendo un masaenfurecida con mi reacción: no puedo pensar que en momento alguno el tono del libro pretendiera alcanzar una profundidad mayor que la de cualquier capítulo de Amarte así, Frijolito. No debería permitirse la venta de ejemplares de este tipo sin un indicador luminoso de por medio. Qué sé yo. Me duelen los euros.Que la culpa es mía, de cualquier modo. Y moraleja de hoy: nunca comprar libros en aeropuertos, por muy "fiables" que se aparezcan.

  • Mike Ingram
    2019-03-01 12:42

    There's not much story, rather there's the aftermath of a story (an affair the narrator/author had with a married man), but the affair and even its aftermath are described only in abstractions, so that it could in effect be a generic meditation on ANY passionate affair's aftermath (and, really, we only know it's passionate because she keeps telling us it was passionate, without ever bothering to recreate the actual passion in concrete language or imagery). Since there wasn't much story, I guess I hoped for the language to be interesting, but it was plain to the point of being rather lifeless. In fairness, maybe the translation was just lousy. One of her "memories" of her lover, one that sticks with her, is when he describes something he saw at the circus as "incredible." Nothing else, just that one word, "incredible." Also, after he'd leave her apartment, her clothes would be scattered around on the floor. And apparently they had sex. Presumably they also talked, from time to time, or maybe he just came over, tossed her clothes around, said "incredible" and left.

  • Meg
    2019-03-01 13:44

    This reminded me a lot of Marguerite Duras' The Lover, which is a far better book. It's got the same straightforward, honest appraisal of a woman's actions within an intense -- though that's Erneaux's word, not mine -- affair, but I feel it lacks the insight and, well, intensity, Duras brings to the subject. I would be interested, since it wouldn't be too much of a waste of time given the book's brevity, to read it in its original French. I suspect it may pack a little more punch that way.

  • William
    2019-03-15 18:59

    A portrait of pure obsession (a woman for a married man), the likes of which most of us will thankfully never experience. This is an interesting glance into the mind of a woman who could find no meaning in life beyond her existence for her lover.

  • Mark
    2019-02-21 13:01

    Pretty intense depiction of a woman having a self-destructive love affair. I'd pair this with Micheline Aharonian Marcum's The Woman in the Well.

  • Véronique
    2019-03-15 20:49

    pour toutes les amantes passionnées. simple??? mon dieu non! douloureux.

  • Cinthia Ritchie
    2019-02-22 14:37

    So damned sparse, haunting and beautiful. If I could write like this I wouldn't ask for anything else.

  • Anne
    2019-02-17 16:53

    Un livre aussi percutant qu'il est bref. D'une franchise et d'une honnêteté renversantes.

  • Johanna perec
    2019-03-17 13:39

    Don't miss this one. It's not some dime-store romance.

  • Emily
    2019-03-05 14:53

    Amazing. The destroying force of passion and desire. Also, writing about writing. Prejudice-free and honest. I loved this.

  • Tiffany
    2019-03-05 19:39

    This book could be titled: What was I thinking?!?!?!At sixty-six short pages in length, read in earnest this book takes about forty minutes to finish. The truth is I probably spent three times as long trying to figure out what it was about. You would think this is simply a literary diorama of a woman's affair. But shocker--it is not. Question is, what is it?Yes, it's a memoir--kind of. There is the obligatory, authenticating reference to the "lover's" current existence: Cet homme continue de vivre quelque part dans le monde... to persuade dear reader of its truthfulness. But is it truthful? Or is it merely a thought exercise? Many nineteenth century novels began thus: "This is a true story ..." They were fictional novels. Granted, a memoir does not need to be truthful to be worthy. Nor does it have to plaud its subject. Some memoirs of addictions are both worthy and humiliating (see Augustin Burroughs.) But this is not necessarily about addiction, although love can feel that way. Mostly it is a memoir of auto-abnegation.From the first pages our narrator makes you wonder what a competent, intellectual, sensitive woman is doing with a married, belching, heavy drinking Eastern European parvenu (whether he resembles Alain Delon or not.) While conducting this affair she loses all interest in the world and withdraws from her friends and her career. At one point she yells at her boss who is trying to persuade her into accepting supplementary projects which would draw her away from the romantic cocoon. Most of us will be uncomfortably familiar with this sort of behavior, because many of us have had these types of passionate affairs. And have subsequently devolved into similar types of behavior, including the tantrumming.But the heart of the matter is why would any woman voluntarily subject herself to a cocoon of indolence if there were not a very good reason? Our narrator refrains from justifying herself. She admits neither that she was incapacitated by love for him, nor that she was transformed by his addition to her life. Effectively she was an enchanted thrall. Moreover, she voluntarily submits to this enslavement, like a kind of sexual Stockholm Syndrome. She offers no excuse and eventually even observes that she has none to offer. Instead she writes about her excesses with a clinical detachment, like an anthropologist taking cool notes about the mating habits of the Yanomami. It is so gratifying to read a woman's confession of obsession without having to wade through the whiny excuses. This is the twenty-first century of self-actualization. Today women are supposed to be Amazing Amys running marathons and publishing best-sellers, and curing autism on the weekends for good measure. For a woman to openly aspire to inertia is an almost shameful opt-out. Could this book be the (French) literary equivalent of appearing on the Jerry Springer show? The shame of self abjection (her word, not mine--an excellent word)--of choosing to remain in a perpetual state of waiting for a lover to show up is not unfamiliar to many of us. Many capable, thinking women today smack their foreheads in retrospect wondering what was I thinking? Why do people who are "in love" put our lives on hold for that telephone call? Why do so many of us hold our breath until the door bell rings? Why does it seem like we are all waiting to exhale? ... That we are educated and intelligent means we can make this inquiry. That we are human, female, foibled and at the mercy of our biology doesn't offer any insight. Ms. Ernaux never solves these questions, nor does she try. I believe she accomplishes what she sets out to do, which is relate how all-encompassing physical passion can be--how it can alter one's biology, one's psychology and mostly, one's very good sense of self preservation. The French in particular are good at living and writing about the interstices between the throes of passion. They understand that surrender--se rendre, se livrer--can allow them to arrive at a spiritual state of abandon. Writing about it afterwards can be a minefield because on paper in the cold light of day what seems supernaturally charged can appear weirdly flat. The confirmation of my hypothesis is this:J'ai découvert en quoi on peut être capable, autant dire de tout. Désirs sublimes ou mortels, absence de dignité, croyances et conduites que je trouvais insensés chez les autres tant que je n'y avais pas moi-même recours. À son insu, il m'a reliée davantage au monde. I particularly like "il m'a reliée davantage au monde." Often the French feel too special to belong to the human race, which is why they are so freaking superior and distainful. Compassion and tiny bit of leveling is never a bad thing for them. The book's title "Passion Simple" sadly loses half of its meaning in English. Grammar geeks know it to be a sweet word play. Le passé simple is a verb tense--literary in quality. It implies events happening beyond the mists of time. There is indeed a misty quality to the affair as if it happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... er, wait, no, that's Star Wars. In reality, the affair happened two short years before the book was published--the writer started writing it two months after the relationship was over. The gap between the emotion-flooded passion, and the fatigued aftermath is minimal. That was then and this is now. Yet there are centuries of time and space between the two. To pass from the passé simple to the imperfect to the passé composé to the present is to describe an arc of wisdom. Then there is the "simply passion" which is evidently the answer to "what was I thinking?" Passion is itself an explanation for why she did it.When I was 20 I had one of those passion simple relationships with a man who was a "turd". His word, mind you, not mine. He was critical and perfectionist, he had poor self esteem, he had a nose like a potato and ugly, piggy eyes, and the sex was bad and then he cheated on me. I was so distraught that I altered the next 17 years of my life, to punish him. Haha. Guess who suffered? This book helped me heal, helped me understand that I was not alone in making stupid choices. Would that all passionate encounters burn away everything but acceptance and a mature self understanding.

  • Eileen Margaret
    2019-02-27 14:56

    I do not know what caused me to pick up this book nearly 20 years ago in a bargain bin at the book store. I picked up again yesterday while reshelving my bookcase and read it yet again. It is simple and short, taking less than hour. Every time I am surprised at the raw nature of Ernaux's brief account of passion. There is something utterly relatable and human about obsession however passing it may be. I appreciate the simple reminder of how guided we are by emotion and desire.

  • Agnès
    2019-02-28 12:44

    "Quand j'étais enfant, le luxe, c'était pour moi les manteaux de fourrure, les robes longues et les villas au bord de la mer. Plus tard, j'ai cru que c'était de mener une vie d'intellectuel. Il me semble maintenant que c'est aussi de pouvoir vivre une passion pour un homme ou une femme". Quelle liberté de ton chez Annie Ernaux!