Born in 1940, Annie Ernaux grew up in Normandy, studied at Rouen University, and later taught at secondary 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. In 2022, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
'The Years is a revolution, not only in the art of
autobiography 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 The Sea
'One of the best books you will ever read.'
- Deborah Levy, author of Hot Milk
'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.'
- Edouard Louis, author of The End of Eddy
'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
'I admire the form she invented, mixing autobiography, history,
sociology. The anxious interrogations on her defection, moving as
she did from the dominated to the dominant classes. Her loyalty to
her people, her fidelity to herself. The progressive
depersonalisation of her work, culminating in the disappearance of
the "I" in The Years, a book I must have read three or
four times since its publication, even more impressed each time by
its precision, its sweep and - I can't think of any other word -
its majesty. One of the few indisputably great books of
- Emmanuel Carrere, author of The Kingdom
'The technique is like nothing I've ever seen before. She
illuminates a person through the culture that poured through her;
it's about time and being situated in a certain place in history
and how time and place make a person. It's incredible.'
- Sheila Heti, author of Pure Colour
'I find her work extraordinary.'
- Eimear McBride, author of Strange Hotel