Cleaned Out

Overview

Cleaned Outtells 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 ...

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Overview

Cleaned Outtells 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.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564781390
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Series: French Literature Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 127
  • Sales rank: 1,409,525
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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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