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Annie Ernaux, Tanya Leslie: Shame (Paperback, 2023, Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Paperback, 86 pages

English language

Published March 22, 2023 by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

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2 stars (1 review)

3 editions

An event that lived

2 stars

Annie Ernaux explains how shame has influenced her life in a short memoir. It begins with the climax: 'My father tried to kill my mother one Sunday in June, in the early afternoon'. From there, Ernaux explores her rural childhood in a post-war French village, and how this event and the fear of community shame stayed with her even nearly 50 years later.

It's hard to criticise something so personal, but the language is a little mechanical, perhaps because of the numbness created over time. It is also hard to understand the motivation for the book being published (I often feel this with memoirs so it may be my bias), but it did paint an interesting picture of a community that lived on gossip and thus hid their lives, something I have seen in my own life.


  • French Authors
  • Childhood and youth
  • Biography
  • Authors, french
  • Authors, biography
  • Women, france
  • Women authors
  • New York Times reviewed
  • Fiction, general