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Passione semplice

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,331 ratings  ·  268 reviews
Una donna e un uomo condividono un'intensa relazione clandestina. Lui, straniero, è sposato e inaccessibile. La avvisa con una telefonata ogni volta che gli si presenta l'occasione di passare del tempo insieme. Gli incontri che seguono sono brevi, con l'amore che si consuma in amplessi tormentati dal presentimento del distacco. Poi lei lo osserva rivestirsi e andare via e ...more
Paperback, Narrativa, 72 pages
Published May 2004 by BUR Biblioteca Univ. Rizzoli (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  2,331 ratings  ·  268 reviews

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Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
At a spare sixty-one pages, Annie Ernaux's account of a woman's experience with all-consuming passion is mercifully brief.

And this is a mercy because, for a woman of the current cultural age, great shame attaches to the knowledge that the self can be surrendered so cheaply and completely; that one can and does make a willing transformation, compelled by pure emotional need, into the servant of another's whim. To perceive oneself alive only in his presence, to recognize his absence as a kind of d
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, south
This book reminded me of exactly how I felt when I fell for a married man. Intense and overwhelming chemistry was swallowing us. For me it was an experiment (I was very young and naive) and for him being fifteen years older it was a thrill of his own. I had never experienced such mind losing magnetism with any other man before and there was something so decadent in our relationship. I didn’t feel ashamed, I didn’t have a reason, he didn’t have any whatsoever guilt trips and I was 20 and living m ...more
sofía  g
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This summer for the first time, I watched an X-rated film on Canal Plus. My television set doesn't have a decoder; the images on the screen were blurred, the words replaced by strange sound effects, hissing and babbling, a different sort of language, soft and continuous. One could make out the figure of a woman in a corset and stockings, and a man. The story was incomprehensible; it was impossible to predict any of their actions or movements. The man walked up to the woman. There was a close-
"Whether or not he was 'worth it' is of no consequence. And the fact that all this is gradually slipping away from me, as if it concerned another woman, does not change this one truth: thanks to him, I was able to approach the frontier separating me from others, to the extent of actually believing that I could sometimes cross over it. I measured time differently, with all my body. I discovered what people are capable of, in other words, anything: sublime or deadly desires, lack of dignity, attit ...more
"I do not wish to explain my passion -- that would imply that it were a mistake or some disorder I need to justify -- I just want to describe it." (p. 23)

I hate reading books like this, because they make me want to be in love again.

At the same time, the yin and the yang ... I love reading books like this. They are like bon bons. And they remind me of when my whole being was electrified and puffed up and full, and then of the aftermath when my insides exploded and left a wreck that jangled around
Honesty. That the first thing I love about this book. The extent of the honesty- to a pathetic, sad fault. But it is unashamed about it. And that's the other thing.

I was expecting the French to give it an increased sensuality or more of a dreamlike quality that would distract me from what was actually happening with the beauty of its expression. Instead, it gave it even more of a brtual edge, I think.

Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Simple Passion’ by Annie Ernaux was one of the books mentioned in Lance Donaldson-Evans’ ‘One Hundred Great French Books’. I haven’t heard of Annie Ernaux before and so decided to try this book. I read it in one sitting and finished it yesterday. Here is what I think.

‘Simple Passion’, at around sixty pages, is not really a novel. With wide spacing between lines and with luxurious space on the borders of the page, it could be called, at best, a novella or probably a long short story. It is not c
M. Sarki
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book has been placed on the shelf of every house I have lived in since 1995. I have kept my first printing in the best collectible condition I possibly could keep it in. The hardcover book has a Brodart archival dust jacket sleeve protecting it, and though I had never read the book, I kept it proudly displayed as if I had. So after five different homes and five different book shelves, Annie Ernaux's words finally found their way into my consciousness
"From September last year, I did nothing else but wait for a man: for him to call me and come round to my place."

This book surprised me. It wasn't what I expected and to be exposed to the raw emotion and sincerity of the narrator touched me deeply. The opening of the novel gripped me and never let go until I finished it in one sitting.

I appreciated the singular focus of it: the woman and her affair with the madness of love itself. It is a bare, tender and crude retelling of her torrid
May 31, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women, romantics, lovers
My roommate/friend Mita recommended this one to me, and I'm glad she did. it's a very quick, engrossing read - I think it took me half of a day to read.

Very simply, this is a portrait of one woman's position as a mistress to a married man, and how her passion for him consumes her. this passion is largely one sideded (though obviously not entirely), since he is in a relationship, and comes and goes as he pleases. It's a very accurate, touching and beautiful portrayal of someone engrossed and swep
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How many times have I said that the less is more approach always yields powerful results. Annie Ernaux has perfected it with Simple Passion.

In essence the novella is a little under 50 pages and focuses on a two year love affair Ernaux had in the late 80’s/90’s with a married man, called A. The book begins with Ernaux obsessing and thinking about the person. This ranges from being attentive to the telephone, noticing A’s clothes and wondering if they are watching the same television programs when
The title of this book aptly sums up Annie Ernaux's all-consuming love affair with a married man - a foreigner from Eastern Europe - during the late 1980s. The reader is given access to a largely dispassionate analysis of the effects of unalloyed sexual desire and the yearnings for intimacy that Ernaux experienced throughout the relationship she had in Paris with this man. That is what makes "SIMPLE PASSION" an instructive book for anyone wanting to understand the impacts of a love affair as exp ...more
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is somewhere between an autobiographic account, a novella, a philosophical meandering, and an investigation of psychology. It's about the author's experience with intense sexual obsession. I read it in a single sitting. The writing is quite beautiful and the author's exploration of her experience is interesting. Not five stars but still pretty awesome. ...more
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so it's a little obsessive but hey, we've all been there. Ernaux writes what the rest of us experience but are too ashamed to admit. Read it in the original French... it makes it seem less creepy and more passionate. ...more
"Simple Passion" -Annie Ernaux (1991)

I'm torn between liking and disliking this book. It begins a bit slowly for me, and tends to drag on through the first half, describing this woman's affair with a man we as the readers never quite come to know. While I wasn't pulled into it right away, there is something to be said about Ernaux's writing style (or the translation, or perhaps a combination of both) that makes it a quick read.

Toward the second half, the book really starts to become interesting
He walks, back erect, head held high, tall, sensual accent, successful and alluring. His presence is an inclusion of the city's stunning sites to see. Now blinded, you miss the branded words that cover his mouth; side effects: loss of self may cause madness, a false sense of reality, and unending turmoil. What happens when he approaches you? You are now putty in his hands.

The author tells how an innominate woman's relationship with a married man took over her ability to reason and live everyday
Daphne Vogel
Knowing this brief story would resonate, I read it with a mixture of love and loathing. That loss of time, that single-minded obsession, refusing work (to be available), refusing holidays (just in case), devoting all time to the wait, trying to be perfect and failing miserably. This short...memoir? tale? will speak to an overwhelming number of people. She wrote this to capture a moment, not to place it on display for censure, and I believe most people who've experienced this sort of obsession wi ...more
Cherise Wolas
The second Ernaux I've read. This one too is about female obsession with a love affair. "I" is an older, divorced woman, with college-age sons, and her love affair with a married foreigner. An intriguing and short novella that compels. ...more
Oliver Shrouder
Annie Ernaux rapidly oscillates between fantastically concise and disappointingly sparse, and sadly this book is the latter, glad to have had this as a library book
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021_read
Love well put in a few pages. In the end, hard to achieve things give a pleasure.

If you go up too high, you (might) fall too bad but there is no way of going up unless take the risk of falling down. Come on, be stronger. If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger. If it kills you, it is already better than a dull life and there is actually no killing because, at worst, you could call the ultimate friend to help which is time.
Becca Younk
I thought this would be a really sexy, scandalous French novel about sex. Well, it is about an affair but it's not really sexy nor scandalous. It is interesting, in its way, it follows a woman who has an affair and then the affair ends and she's pretty broken up about it. It's short so it's intriguing, but not what I expected and I'm a bit disappointed. But it's fine. ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will read anything Annie Ernaux writes about obsession, sex, and yearning (see also: L'occupation). I read this last year in its original French and this time in the English translation by Tanya Leslie. Leslie favours quite a literal translation, leaving many French turns of phrases that have a peculiar ring in English, which is... a choice!

Ernaux is always frank, but her frankness doesn't preclude beauty or profundity: "I would count the number of times we had made love. I felt that each time
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Its so intimately written about the relationship between the author and a man with whom she had an affair.She refers him as 'A', The passion for A is deep and intense. Everything she does revolves around her furtive affair with A. Because he is married she can only rarely see him, and neither write nor call him. She is dependent on him, and imagines signs and foreshadowing s everywhere she turns, boding either well or ill for them. Her life, for the two years, revolves around little else but her ...more
Marcus Hobson
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short and remarkable book, just republished by Fitzcarraldo Editions. It was first published in 1991 and tells the story of the narrator’s affair with a married man. It is a deeply personal reflection on feelings and emotions and is an amazing opening up of the inside of the brain. If you were going to write a character having such an affair, all the raw material you would need to fully enter the mind of your character is to be found in these 48 pages.

We read not just the thoughts from within
This reminded me a lot of Marguerite Duras' The Lover, which is a far better book. It's got the same straightforward, honest appraisal of a woman's actions within an intense -- though that's Erneaux's word, not mine -- affair, but I feel it lacks the insight and, well, intensity, Duras brings to the subject. I would be interested, since it wouldn't be too much of a waste of time given the book's brevity, to read it in its original French. I suspect it may pack a little more punch that way. ...more
Captivated me from page three. Beautifully, devastatingly honest about a woman’s desire- painfully familiar. Excruciating because when do men feel the same? When is men’s desire not possessive and fleeting?
Somehow the all consuming obsessiveness of it doesn’t feel obsessive??
But maybe that’s because my own love and infatuation is similarly all consuming.
Dec 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
A portrait of pure obsession (a woman for a married man), the likes of which most of us will thankfully never experience. This is an interesting glance into the mind of a woman who could find no meaning in life beyond her existence for her lover.
Johanna perec
Don't miss this one. It's not some dime-store romance. ...more
Amazing. The destroying force of passion and desire. Also, writing about writing. Prejudice-free and honest. I loved this.
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty intense depiction of a woman having a self-destructive love affair. I'd pair this with Micheline Aharonian Marcum's The Woman in the Well. ...more
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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.

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