Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Translated by Tanya Leslie

In this novel, which takes the form of journal entries made over the course of seven years, Annie Ernaux concentrates on the ephemeral encounters that take place just on the periphery of a person’s lived environment. She captures the feeling of contemporary living on the outskirts of a great city: tortured, chaotic, lyrical, and powerfully 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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Exteriors is honest, genuine and skillfully executed.”

“Ernaux's writings walk a tightrope between art and confession, immersing us in a territory bounded on one side by commitment and on the other by desire.”

Journal du dehors (Exteriors) is the opposite of an intimate diary. It shows a woman observing, without scorn or pity, the world out of which she came . . . . It is the text of a writer for whom the tex is, simultaneously, interiority and provocation.”

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Born in 1940, Annie Ernaux grew up in Normandy, studied at Rouen University, and later taught high 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. Ernaux won the prestigious Prix Renaudot for A Man's Place when it was first published in French in 1984, and the English edition became a New York Times Notable Book. Other New York Times Notable Books include Simple Passion and A Woman's Story, which was also a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. 

Ernaux’s most recent work, The Years, has received the Françoise-Mauriac Prize of the French Academy, the Marguerite Duras Prize, the Strega European Prize, the French Language Prize, and the Télégramme Readers Prize. The English edition, translated by Alison L. Strayer, was a Finalist for the 31st Annual French-American Translation Prize.