With extraordinary voice and poignant bravery, this novel allows the reader to experience a 20-year-old woman's reflections as she lies suffering from a back-alley abortion. Denise Lesur, alone in her college dorm room, reviews her coming-of-age in postwar France and her passages in life from a middle-class upbringing to what may be her last day--a brilliant treatment of coming to terms with one's childhood by one of France's most important and innovative contemporary writers.
From Publishers Weekly
"So I got involved, heavily involved, deeply involved, right down to ending up with a tube in my womb, all because of a not-very-clever comment, all because of myself." In this first novel, written in 1974, the Prix Renaudot-winning author's narrator is a 20-year-old college student who lies pondering the childhood that brought her bleeding and alone to her dorm room following a back-alley abortion. But Ernaux has no bent for bathos: for her the abortion serves as a metaphorical rather than moral backdrop against which Denise Lesur, the not particularly lovable heroine, recounts the events of a life that closely parallels Ernaux's own. Denise is the petted only child of small shopkeepers who slave to keep her in a private Catholic school, where she discovers a "finer" existence and turns away from her parents, working to expunge their traces from her speech, her clothes, her ambitions and herself. Cleaned Out is a tough story of young girl's coming-of-agestet hyphens per Web. in postwar France, a story filled with the spirit of Elvis, Sartre, jazz and the nasty little verities of adolescence.
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