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21st October 2022

Since 1975 Annie Ernaux has lived in Cergy-Pontoise, a new town 30km north west of Paris,  (above, Hôtel de préfecture du Val-d'Oise, opened 1970). As the author of this article says, "Ernaux’s insistence that we find a key to unlock the secrets of modern social and emotional lives in the new-town grocery queue, the hairdresser’s salon, or the crowded Tube carriage, counts as a quietly revolutionary act". For her, “a supermarket can provide just as much meaning and truth as a concert hall”, words which are underlined by the Nobel citation, “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory”

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