Cleaned Out

Cleaned Out

by Annie Ernaux
     
 

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Cleaned Out tells the story of Denise Lesur, a 20-year-old woman suffering the after-effects of a back-alley abortion. Alone in her college dorm room, Denise attempts to understand how her suffocating middle-class upbringing has brought her to such an awful present. Ernaux, one of France's most important contemporary writers, daringly breaks with formal French…  See more details below

Overview

Cleaned Out tells the story of Denise Lesur, a 20-year-old woman suffering the after-effects of a back-alley abortion. Alone in her college dorm room, Denise attempts to understand how her suffocating middle-class upbringing has brought her to such an awful present. Ernaux, one of France's most important contemporary writers, daringly breaks with formal French literary tradition in this moving novel about abortion, growing up, and coming to terms with one's childhood.

"Written with raw and powerful images, Annie Ernaux says the 'unsayable' as she confronts the experience of having an abortion and of growing up in the post-World War II generation—all in a fresh, original voice." (San Francisco Chronicle 12-16-90)

"Without romanticizing or moralizing, Ernaux imaginatively and artfully presents a universal theme: the hopefulness and hopelessness of life." (Library Journal 12-90)

"Cleaned Out is more than a powerful evocation of the class system in France in the 1950s and of one woman's struggle to move up in the class hierarchy and forget her past. It is also a novel that serves as a haunting contribution, both in subject matter and literary form, to the project of the culturally disenfranchised speaking in their own voice." (Bloomsbury Review Jan-Feb 93)

"Raises social and cultural issues that are addressed with uncompromising gut-level emotion. . . . Denise flounders between self-hate and resentment of her family's heritage as she mimics the new role model of bourgeois schoolmates while also confronting the shame she feels for deserting her parents and their set of values." (Booklist 11-1-90)

"Cleaned Out is a tough story of a young girl's coming-of-age in postwar France, a story filled with the spirit of Elvis, Sartre, jazz and the nasty little verities of adolescence." (Publishers Weekly 12-9-96)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Denise, a 20-year-old college student who has just had a back-alley abortion, lies alone in her dorm room and ponders her rejection of her well-meaning parents. PW called this ``a tough story of a young girl's coming-of-age in postwar France, a story filled with the spirit of Elvis, Sartre, jazz and the nasty little verities of adolescence.'' (Oct.)
Library Journal
Published in French as Les Armoires Vides in 1974, this first novel takes us into the inner consciousness of a 20-year-old college student who has undergone a backstreet abortion, as she tries to understand the present by reflecting on the past. Denise Lesur is fearful of dying from the abortion, guilt-ridden because she has used her impoverished parents' hard-earned money (intended for her education) to pay for it, and resentful of both their vulgarity and the refinement of her snobbish classmates. Without romanticizing or moralizing, Ernaux imaginatively and artfully presents a universal theme: the hopefulness and hopelessness of life.-- Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.
San Francisco Chronicle

Written with raw and powerful images, Annie Ernaux says the 'unsayable' as she confronts the experience of having an abortion and of growing up in the post-World War II generation?all in a fresh, original voice.

Bloomsbury Review

Cleaned Outis more than a powerful evocation of the class system in France in the 1950s and of one woman's struggle to move up in the class hierarchy and forget her past. It is also a novel that serves as a haunting contribution, both in subject matter and literary form, to the project of the culturally disenfranchised speaking in their own voice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780916583705
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
09/15/1991
Pages:
127

Meet the Author

She won the Prix Renaudot in 1984 for her book La Place, an autobiographical narrative focusing on her relationship with her father and her experiences growing up in a small town in France, and her subsequent process of moving into adulthood and away from her parents' place of origin.

Dalkey Archive Press

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