Born in 1940, ANNIE ERNAUX grew up in Normandy, studied at Rouen University, and began teaching 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. She won the prestigious Prix Renaudot for A Man's Place when it was first published in French in 1984. The English edition was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The English edition of A Woman's Story was a New York Times Notable Book. ALISON STRAYER is a Canadian writer and translator Her work has been shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Literature and for Translation, the Grand Prix du livre de Montreal, and the Prix litteraire France-Quebec. She lives in Paris.
"The Years is an earnest, fearless book, a Remembrance of
Things Past for our age of media domination and consumerism,
for our period of absolute commodity fetishism." -Edmund White,
The New York Times Book Review
"Annie Ernaux is ruthless. I mean that as a compliment. Perhaps no other memoirist - if, in fact, memoir-writing is what Ernaux is up to, which both is and isn't the case - is so willing to interrogate not only the details of her life but also the slippery question of identity. ... Think of The Years ... as memoir in the shape of intervention: 'all the things she has buried as shameful and which are now worthy of retrieval, unfolding, in the light of intelligence.'"
-David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times
"The process of reading The Years is similar to a treasure box discovery. ... It is the kind of book you close after reading a few pages, carried away by the bittersweet taste it leaves in your mind. ... Ernaux transforms her life into history and her memories into the collective memory of a generation." -Azarin Sadegh, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Annie Ernaux's The Years, translated by Alison L. Strayer, is ostensibly the author's autobiography, but if a book can be both sinuous and fragmentary, this one is, circling around the truth, presenting a collage of images, episodes, memories and flights of imagination. The narrative voice moves between the first person plural and the third person. It's just a glorious novel - think JM Coetzee meets Joan Didion." -Alex Preston, The Guardian
"... a memoir that is humble and generous, an homage to the great French writers and thinkers of the previous century." -Bookforum
"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
"One of the few indisputably great books of contemporary literature." -Emmanuel Carrere, author of The Kingdom
"One of the best books you'll ever read." -Deborah Levy, author of Hot Milk
"Attentive, communal and genuinely new, Annie Ernaux's The Years is an astonishing achievement." -Olivia Laing, author of Crudo
"A book of memory, of a life and world, staggeringly and brilliantly original." -Philippe Sands, author of East West Street
"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