A revelatory meditation on class and consumer culture, from 2022 Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux
A New Yorker Best of the Week Pick • A World Literature Today Notable Translation of 2023
“Translated from the French with great intelligence and sensitivity by Alison Strayer. . . . Ernaux’s diary is a provocation: to accept these life scenes as worthy of our time and attention.”—Kate Briggs, Washington Post
“A dryly charming look at the way the French live now, through the sharp eyes of its most acclaimed chronicler.”—Kirkus Reviews
For half a century, the French writer Annie Ernaux has transgressed the boundaries of what stories are considered worth telling, what subjects worth exploring. In this probing meditation, Ernaux turns her attention to the phenomenon of the big-box superstore, a ubiquitous feature of modern life that has received scant attention in literature.
Recording her visits to a store near Paris for over a year, she captures the world that exists within its massive walls. Through Ernaux’s eyes, the superstore emerges as “a great human meeting place, a spectacle”—a flashy, technologically advanced incarnation of the ancient marketplace where capitalism, cultural production, and class converge, dictating our rhythms of desire. With her relentless powers of observation, Ernaux takes the measure of a place we thought we knew, calling us to question the experiences we overlook and to gaze more deeply into ordinary life.
Annie Ernaux is the winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature. She is the author of more than twenty books, including The Years, A Woman’s Story, A Man’s Place, Shame, and Simple Passion. Alison L. Strayer is an award-winning writer and translator.
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