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3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  114 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Taking the form of random journal entries over seven years, Exteriors captures the feeling of contemporary living on the outskirts of Paris. Poignantly lyrical, chaotic, and strangely alive.
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 8th 1996 by Seven Stories Press (first published December 1st 1993)
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M. Sarki
Feb 12, 2015 M. Sarki rated it liked it
She is obviously not indifferent or oblivious to people she sees on her daily commute, in the train, on the platform, in the supermarket, or browsing the lingerie store. And she recognizes these souls as participants in her life just as she is present in theirs. I do like the smart and courageous writing of Annie Ernaux, but I could have taken a pass from reading these snippets taken from her journal and never felt anything missing from my life. It was just one, of many, pleasant walks taken in ...more
Heather Allen
Nov 30, 2007 Heather Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
after picking this up in france to read in on my own, i realized what a great resource for teaching culture and writing to french students it is. i've read it over and over since.
Feb 20, 2009 Alb rated it liked it
Lately, I have been fascinated with America's preoccupation with "Truth". In my opinion, this spate of successful memoirs that turn out to be fakes and "betray" the American public says something (although I am not entirely sure what yet) about how we value stories as a culture. Apparently, other countries are less concerned veracity and Annie Ernaux's popularity is evidence of this. Her books often blur what is real. In the case of Exteriors, the entire book is a series of observations of ordi ...more
Dec 08, 2015 Sierra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for school and I read it in French. Def not my fav.
Aug 30, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I fancy myself a writer of fragments, and found companionship in this book of journal entry chunks written on the Paris Metro by a commuter. My favorite entry is a description of a mother and small child reading a book together on the opposite bench, the child constantly squirming, until finally he calms briefly, then looks up at the mother to say "I'm going to bite you."
Feb 06, 2008 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Journal du dehors offers an intimate look into a segment of French society, which is often disrespected, forgotten, and sometimes altogether ignored. Piecing together little pieces of what she sees around her, Annie Ernaux through her provocative narrator gives us a glimpse of what it means to be "French" and a "banlieusard" at the same time, what it means to live in a city without history, energy, or beauty, and what it means to live in a place so indescribably dependent on Paris that when you ...more
Some assigned French reading. Pretty ingenious idea, I suppose - it's more of a collection of snapshots of society rather than a novel, or narrative work. Think verbal photography. Ernaux has something of an intellectual high horse (let's go for a horse of fourteen hands), but then, who isn't a social critic? You judge that gal's ipod playlist over her shoulder in the subway, I know you do. Meanwhile, I'm judging your choice of the Wall Street Journal over the New Yorker, as a homeless dude wand ...more
May 03, 2009 Eleanor rated it liked it
So I caved and read this book in English. It's simple enough prose. It's a series of vignettes really capturing a "new" suburban town outside of Paris of the 1980's, complete with new RER stops and shopping malls. I had heard a lot about this town, but never been there, and it vividly added to my understanding. It feels very French and very 80's, very much about a place (very Annie Ernaux). Her description is vivid, yet sterile and impersonal like the environment itself, it's hard to imagine any ...more
Lizzie Timber
This book was ok, but it was comprised of fragments, so i found the idea good and the execution lacking.
Dit boek bestaat uit observaties en bespiegelingen van Ernaux over het leven in een Parijse voorstad. Ze reist vrijwel dagelijks met het openbaar vervoer van en naar Parijs en daarbij tekent ze op welke graffititeksten, medepassagiers en zwervers haar opvallen. Het is bedoeld als een soort tegenhanger van een persoonlijk dagboek; dus een dagboek van wat er buiten je gebeurt. Dit leidt tot een opmerkelijk tijdsbeeld vol rake en toch ook persoonlijke ontboezemingen en invallen.
Paul Blakeman
Jul 31, 2013 Paul Blakeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you like to people watch? Then read this book! Although written two decades ago (and the early accounts being almost three decades old), you could easily be fooled that the book had been written yesterday. Perhaps unintentionally, Ernaux has demonstrated the timelessness of Paris as she speaks of the beggars on the RER (a very strong theme in the book).

(Read in French)
Johanna perec
Writers should read it for its simplicity.
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Annie Ernaux is a French writer.

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.
More about Annie Ernaux...

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