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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Annie Ernaux

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To purchase Shame

Title: Shame
Author: Annie Ernaux
Genre: Novel
Written: 1996 (Eng. 1998)
Length: 105 pages
Original in: French
Availability: Shame - US
Shame - UK
Shame - Canada
La honte - France
  • Translated by Tanya Leslie
  • French title: La honte
  • Shame sold over 100,000 copies in France in the first year of its publication.

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Our Assessment:

B+ : sparse, small book, engaging, and well written.

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Atlantic Monthly . 10/1998 Phoebe-Lou Adams
The NY Times A 12/8/1998 Richard Bernstein
The NY Times Book Rev. A 13/9/1998 Claire Messud

  From the Reviews:
  • "[An] affecting wisp of a memoir." - Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Annie Ernaux is one of the more popular literary authors in France nowadays. Her short books, sparse prose, thoughtful considerations have met with great success there, and the books that have been translated have met with at least critical acclaim here. This is much like her others, just over 100 pages long, telling a simple story as the author looks back on her childhood and several of the defining events from that time. It is centered around the memory of her father trying to kill her mother, though that is too sensationalistic a description: the attempt is as shameful and half-hearted and frustrated as much of her family life is.
       It is a remarkable, deceptively simple book, and very well written, and Tanya Leslie captures Ernaux's tone well in her translation.

       Recommended, though it is probably not everyone's cup of tea.

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Shame: 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 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2022.

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