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Passione semplice

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,454 ratings  ·  164 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 3.65  · 
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 ·  1,454 ratings  ·  164 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
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  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-
"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.

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
"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
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
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
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
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.
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.
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
"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
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.
Mike Ingram
There's not much story, rather there's the aftermath of a story (an affair the narrator/author had with a married man), but the affair and even its aftermath are described only in abstractions, so that it could in effect be a generic meditation on ANY passionate affair's aftermath (and, really, we only know it's passionate because she keeps telling us it was passionate, without ever bothering to recreate the actual passion in concrete language or imagery). Since there wasn't much story, I guess ...more
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.
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.
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.
Cinthia Ritchie
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
So damned sparse, haunting and beautiful. If I could write like this I wouldn't ask for anything else.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Thank goodness it was short!
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
This book could be titled: What was I thinking?!?!?!

At sixty-six short pages in length, read in earnest this book takes about forty minutes to finish. The truth is I probably spent three times as long trying to figure out what it was about. You would think this is simply a literary diorama of a woman's affair. But shocker--it is not. Question is, what is it?

Yes, it's a memoir--kind of. There is the obligatory, authenticating reference to the "lover's" current existence: Cet homme continue de viv
"I do not wish to explain my passion—that would imply that it was a mistake or some disorder I need to justify—I just want to describe it."

"Naturally I feel no shame in writing these things because of the time which separates the moment when they are written—when only I can see them—from the moment when they will be read by other people, a moment which I feel will never come."

This book, above all else, feels honest. Not just honest to the reader, but it feels like the book is an exercise of the
Rachel Bellenoit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eileen Margaret
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not know what caused me to pick up this book nearly 20 years ago in a bargain bin at the book store. I picked up again yesterday while reshelving my bookcase and read it yet again. It is simple and short, taking less than hour. Every time I am surprised at the raw nature of Ernaux's brief account of passion. There is something utterly relatable and human about obsession however passing it may be. I appreciate the simple reminder of how guided we are by emotion and desire.
Mina-Louise Berggren
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.
Casey Hampton
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
—"Sometimes I wonder if the purpose of my writing is to find out whether other people have done or felt the same things or, if not, for them to consider experiencing such things as normal."—


—"I felt I had every right to reject the things that prevented me from luxuriating in the sensations and fantasies of my own passion."—
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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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65 likes · 10 comments
“Naturally I feel no shame in writing these things because of the time which separates the moment when they are written--when only I can see them--from the moment when they will be read by other people, a moment which I feel will never come. By then I could have had an accident or died; a war or a revolution could have broken out. This delay makes it possible for me to write today, in the same way I used to lie in the scorching sun for a whole day at sixteen, or make love wihout contraceptives at twenty: without thinking about the consequences” 14 likes
“Sometimes I wonder if the purpose of my writing is to find out whether other people have done or felt the same things or, if not, for them to consider experiencing such things as normal. Maybe I would also like them to live out these very emotions in turn, forgetting that they had once read about them somewhere.” 3 likes
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