Annie Ernaux

Annie Ernaux is a renowned French author known for her works that explore personal and collective memory, social class, and gender. Her writing often blurs the lines between autobiography and fiction, providing a deep introspection into her own life and the societal changes around her.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Cleaned Out

    "Cleaned Out" is a poignant autobiographical novel that delves into the life of a young woman coming of age in post-war France. The narrative follows her journey from a working-class background through her experiences at a boarding school and university, where she grapples with the social and sexual mores of the time. The protagonist's struggle with an unwanted pregnancy and the subsequent illegal abortion is a central and harrowing theme, reflecting the broader issues of female autonomy and the class divide. The novel is a stark and unflinching exploration of identity, memory, and the societal pressures that shape the lives of women.

    The 3481st Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Years

    "The Years" is a compelling narrative that blends autobiography and collective history to depict the evolution of French society from the 1940s to the early 2000s. Through a blend of personal memories, shared experiences, and common artifacts, the book captures the passage of time and the changes it brings to individual lives and collective identity. The author uses an innovative form of writing, eschewing a traditional linear narrative and personal pronouns, to create a reflective and powerful exploration of memory, aging, and the continuous transformation of societal norms and personal aspirations.

    The 7937th Greatest Book of All Time