Annie Ernaux author Alison L Strayer translator


Publisher:Fitzcarraldo Editions

Published:21st Sep '22


Available for immediate dispatch.


Getting Lost is the diary kept by Annie Ernaux during the year and a half she had a secret love affair with a younger, married man, an attaché to the Soviet embassy in Paris. Her novel, Simple Passion, was based on this affair, but here her writing is immediate and unfiltered. In these diaries it is 1989 and Annie is divorced with two grown sons, living in the suburbs of Paris and nearing fifty. Her lover escapes the city to see her there and Ernaux seems to survive only in expectation of these encounters. She cannot write, she trudges distractedly through her various other commitments in the world, she awaits his next call; she lives merely to feel desire and for the next rendezvous. When he is gone and the moment of desire has faded, she feels that she is a step closer to death.

Lauded for her spare prose, Ernaux here removes all artifice, her writing pared down to its most naked and vulnerable. Translated brilliantly for the first time by Alison L. Strayer, Getting Lost is a haunting record of a woman in the grips of love, desire and despair.

‘Annie Ernaux is one of my favorite contemporary writers, original and true. Always after reading one of her books, I walk around in her world for months.’
— Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood

‘I find her work extraordinary.’
— Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing

‘Annie Ernaux writes memoir with such generosity and vulnerable power that I find it difficult to separate my own memories from hers long after I’ve finished reading.’
— Catherine Lacey, author of Pew

‘Like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, Ernaux’s affair should be counted as one of the great liaisons of literature.... I suspect the book will become a kind of totem for lovers: a manual to help them find their centre when, like Ernaux, they are lost in love. All her books have the quality of saving frail human details from oblivion. Together they tell, in fragments, the story of a woman in the twentieth century who has lived fully, sought out pain and happiness equally and then committed her findings truthfully on paper. Her life is our inheritance.’
— Ankita Chakraborty, Guardian

‘Ernaux has once more created a living document of existential terror and hope.’
— Catherine Taylor, Irish Times

‘The almost primitive directness of her voice is bracing. It’s as if she’s carving each sentence onto the surface of a table with a knife.... Getting Lost is a feverish book. It’s about being impaled by desire, and about the things human beings want, as opposed to the things for which they settle... it’s one of those books about loneliness that, on every page, makes you feel less alone.’
— Dwight Garner, New York Times

‘Ernaux is an unusual memoirist: she distrusts her memory… Ernaux does not so much reveal the past – she does not pretend to have any authoritative access to it – as unpack it.’
— Madeleine Schwartz, New Yorker

‘Reading her is like getting to know a friend, the way they tell you about themselves over long conversations that sometimes take years, revealing things slowly, looping back to some parts of their life over and over.’
— Joanna Biggs, London Review of Books

‘Ernaux has inherited de Beauvoir’s role of chronicler to a generation.’
— Margaret Drabble, New Statesman

 ‘Watching a skilled writer who was for years overlooked by the French literary establishment salvage an affair shrouded in such secrecy is to witness a literary feat.’
— Kaya Genç, Los Angeles Review of Books

‘Across the ample particularities of over forty years and twenty-one books, almost all short, subject-driven memoirs, Ernaux has fundamentally destabilized and reinvented the genre in French literature.’
— Audrey Wollen, The Nation

‘Ernaux’s writing, in Alison L. Strayer’s accomplished translation, is brazen and candid. Despite the cyclical, repetitive nature of events — the ecstasy of seeing her lover again, the dread of his leaving, the feelings of melancholy after he has departed, the agony of waiting and hoping for his call, repeated ad infinitum — the writing is urgent and gripping…She is a writer of rare calibre, a woman who writes with such honesty and, above all, humanity, as to render her work irresistible.’
— Rachel Farmer, Lunate

‘From the very first lines, we feel ourselves, like her, caught up in the vertigo of waiting, obsessed by the telephone that never rings, time that passes too quickly and the meetings that become less frequent. Love, death and literature are constantly intertwined in this story that plunges us into the intimacy of a couple, without ever giving us the impression of being voyeurs.’
— Pascale Frey, ELLE

‘With Getting Lost, Annie Ernaux goes for broke. The bed, the site of her pleasure, is to her what the gaming table is to the gambler, the bottle to the alcoholic, the syringe to the addict. The nexus of all danger. The goal is not, as she seems to believe and tries to make us believe, the necessity of passion: it is in reality only a pretext for her to risk her life.’
— Martine de Rabaudy, L'Express

  • Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature 2022 (Sweden)

ISBN: 9781913097004

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

224 pages