Original title: Une Femme
English title: A Woman’s story
Author: Annie Ernaux
Publication year: 1987
Genre: Non fiction, Autobiography
The author’s mother just died, after several years being sick with Alzheimer’s, and she wants to remember who she was before all this, because the woman who raised her was so much more. She was strong, and beautiful, and Ernaux was rather close to her, as much as they had a complex relationship.
Like many of Ernaux’s other works, this is partly autobiographical, but not entirely since this book is about her mother, more than about her, just like A Man’s Place is about her father. From her childhood to her last sick days, this book retraces the life of a woman who tried her best to be more than her family, and became a small business owner in a small Normandy town. This is the story of Ernaux’s mother.
Yes, it’s another book by Annie Ernaux. If you are not new on my blog, you probably already saw me talking about her. You can find other book reviews of her other works in my ‘Non Fiction’ category… Anyway. She got me again. This book was beautiful and amazing. I loved it, and I couldn’t not give it five stars…
In her books, Ernaux talks about her life and the society she grew up in. She shows that the society needs changing, and she recalls events that made her who she is (and she is one badass old lady, we met her in class, she was amazing!) But here, she is making something different. This book is also moving and very personal. Don’t get me wrong, her books usually are personal (for god’s sakes, she talks about masturbation and abortion) but talking about her mother, and how vulnerable she was in her sickness, that’s something different, and I really admire for that.
To be honest, she is on of my favourite authors these days, and I wish I could write something significant like she did.
What else can I add? Ernaux chooses to talk about her mother, and shows that she knows she could be anyone. Her life is rather typical, and at the same time, she is also strong. And she’s the author’s mother, which doesn’t make her anyone. Once again, in this book Ernaux talks about herself and the society she grew up in, post war rural France, and this time she shows it through her mother’s life. And once again, she did an incredible job!
I love her plain writing style. She is not trying to do something complex, she just writes in a style made so that people can understand and relate, and that is yet another of her strength. Even though this semester is now over, I will never stop reading her books.
People who like Non Fiction and/or are interested in something out of their comfort zone!