Annie Ernaux is a French national treasure and beloved and highly praised here.
This is the first time this extraordinary 2001 book will be published in paperback
Ernaux’s The Years (Seven Stories, 2017) has been a critical success, garnering praise from such luminaries as Edmund White, Olivia Laing, and John Banville, and reviving interest in this important writer.
Ernaux has won numerous literary awards for The Years, including the French Language Prize 2008, the Françoise-Mauriac Prize of the French Academy 2008, the Marguerite Duras Prize 2008, the Télégramme Readers Prize 2009, the Strega European Prize 2016, and the French-American Translation Prize for non-fiction 2018.
Two of Ernaux’s books have been NY Times Notable Books, and one was an LA Times Book Prize finalist.
Three of Ernaux’s backlist have just been reissued in UK by Fitzcarraldo, garnering high praise and significant media coverage.
“With the dispassion and efficiency of a military strategist, [Ernaux] ambushes her past, prying it from its refuge in nostalgia and oblivion and holding it up naked for all to see…a harrowing account…superbly translated.” —Emily Eakin, The New York Times Book Review
“Ernaux…writes with clear, controlled precision that is as vivid as it is devastating to read, and which connects the pain and indignity of her experience to class, power and patriarchy.” —The Guardian
“Although the events Ernaux describes so explicitly occurred more than 50 years ago, they retain their horrifying immediacy, and should act as a reminder that her lack of options is the reality for many women worldwide, with access to legal abortion severely restricted or denied. Universal, primeval and courageous, Happening is a fiercely dislocating, profoundly relevant work—as much of art as of human experience. It should be compulsory reading.” —Financial Times
“Ernaux’s work is important. Not just because of her subject matter, but because of the way she hands it over: the subtle contradictions; her dispassionate stoicism, mixed with savagery; her detailed telling, mixed with spare, fragmented text…These are not things we vote for. These are not things we judge. These are things that happen. Are happening.” —Irish Times
“An important, resonant work.” —Publishers Weekly
“Happening is gripping and painfully inevitable to read—like a thriller. I felt close to Annie Duchesne, in her aloneness, in a way I’ve rarely felt close to a character in a book. Women will be grateful to Ernaux for her wisdom, concision, and commitment to writing about death and life.” —Daisy Hildyard, author of The Second Body
“Ernaux connects her experience to the wider world of class and religion and law, resulting in a startling, unusual portrait…” —The Village Voice
“…the book administers a punch beyond its slim size…It is unflinching and honest, a frank patchwork of past and present experiences. … The title suits the subject: illegal abortion isn’t confined to history, suspended in aspic, a thing to be examined in the past tense. It is still hotly contested, demanding the present participle of Ernaux’s title. … an essential document of trauma which deserves to be widely read.” —Xenobe Purvis, Review 31
“This short book … is one of the most powerful memoirs I have ever read. Ernaux is famed in France, and is gathering fame abroad…as an autobiographer of unusual talent and insight, virtually creating (although she disavows the term) a genre called “autofiction”, a hybrid style mixing, as the name suggests, autobiography and fiction, although there is nothing in Happening that suggests any fictional element. This is the truth, as bare as it can be told, although every so often Ernaux reminds us, carefully, that memory is slippery.” —Nicholas Lezard, Dhaka Tribune
“The writer’s ego is downplayed; there is no excavating of sensibility, it is more an exercise in the excavation of personal history, undertaken for the author’s own purposes. Her approach is investigative, almost academic, with the reader an accidental presence. The result for the reader is a feeling of intimate emotional, intellectual and sociological knowledge of the author’s pregnancy and abortion. The writing is sublime and unforgettable. Happening is one of the most remarkable books you will ever read.” —Dublin Review of Books
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