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the Complete Review
the complete review - interview



L'ecriture comme un couteau

by
Annie Ernaux
and Frédéric-Yves Jeannet


general information | our review | links | about the author

To purchase L'ecriture comme un couteau



Title: L'ecriture comme un couteau
Author: Annie Ernaux
Genre: Interview
Written: 2003
Length: 156 pages
Original in: French
Availability: L'ecriture comme un couteau - France
L'ecriture comme un couteau - Canada
  • Entretien avec Frédéric-Yves Jeannet
  • L'ecriture comme un couteau has not been translated into English yet

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Our Assessment:

B : offers some interesting insights

See our review for fuller assessment.




The complete review's Review:

       L'ecriture comme un couteau is a book-length interview / conversation / exchange between Annie Ernaux and Frédéric-Yves Jeannet, conducted by e-mail, Jeannet periodically sending her "un ensemble de questions et de réflexions" ("a set of questions and reflections") and Ernaux (eventually) responding. It's been fairly well edited together, divided into short chapters, each focussing on an aspect of Ernaux's work or life but with a great deal of overlap among them (i.e. subjects aren't checked off one after another, but rather brought up time and again, wherever relevant).
       Ernaux's books are suffused with autobiographical elements, but can't necessarily be read strictly as autobiography. These conversations focus on her working method, and her products (which are often difficult to describe as novels, or even as fiction). Particularly of interest is her explanation of her personal journals and how she uses them in her writing -- and the contrast bewteen the one type of writing (diary-keeping) and the other (creative writing). So, for example, she explains:

    Une des raisons qui m'a fait publier Se perdre, c'est de montrer le "jeu" -- au sens d'espace qui sépare -- entre le journal intime et le texte de Passion simple.

    (One of the reasons I published Se perdre was to show the "play" -- in the sense of what separates them -- between the intimate journal and the text of Simple Passion.)
       A great deal is covered in these exchanges, from Ernaux's politics and what she likes to read to everything from the first-person narrators to the tone of her writings. While her works seem to reveal a great deal about her, these exchanges also offer additional background and interpretation that are surely of interest to those familiar with her work.

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Links:

Reviews: Annie Ernaux: Other books by Annie Ernaux under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       French author Annie Ernaux was born in Normandy in 1940. She has won numerous literary prizes, including the Prix Renaudot. Three of her books have been New York Times Notable Books of the Year.

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