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My Escape: An Autobiographyby Benoite Groult
Synopses & Reviews
This witty autobiography captures the rich and varied life of a renowned French author and pioneering feminist, through the obstacles and movements in twentieth-century France.
Born in 1920 in Paris, Benoite Groult obtained the right to vote only when she was twenty-five years old. She married four times, bore three children, underwent several illegal abortions, became a writer after she turned forty, and a feminist in her fifties. Groult chronicles her experiences and her intellectual developments through successive phases—as an obedient child, an awkward and bookish adolescent, and a submissive wife—until finally becoming a liberated novelist.
Here, she recounts the childhood trips she spent with her family, Paris during the occupation, her marriages, motherhood, and her continuous fight for women’s rights. At ninety-one years old, she concludes that she has been, and still is, a happy woman—lucky to have captured her freedoms, one by one, paying for them, delighting in them, and loving them. Sexy, chatty, and full of shrewd insight, My Escape covers her years of struggle and success—as a daughter, lover, writer, wife, mother, and reluctant socialite—and draws a portrait of the role of French women in the twentieth century.
"Groult, a proud, sassy feminist, is well known in France for — among other ouvres — her then-racy novel Salt on Our Skin and her widely-read Ainsi soit-elle, which alerted many French readers for the first time to the practice of female genital mutilation. Whether one is familiar or not with Groult's work, this book is delightful for its frequently beautiful prose, and appealing for how it deals with controversial subjects (abortion, female subjugation, sexism in language). Intimate memories of the author's childhood — skiing with her father, wonder-gawking at her mother — and adulthood are fraught with struggle and questioning, as are her loves and love affairs. Misgivings about daughter-, mother-, grandmother-, and wife-hood decorate Groult's story, to which she adds interviews as well as analyses of women's treatment both in literature and in society at large. She endears herself to readers through profound insights and a generous sense of humor; her honest and occasionally bawdy style is a major plus. Though the book is not always seamless in its construction, it is clear that what Groult remembers and contemplates matters deeply to her. In that sense this book embodies what an autobiography should be: a careful selection of memories, anecdotes, and observations that gives the feeling of having conversed with a wonderful and memorable person. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Young people today can't imagine what women went through during the twentieth century," explains Benoîte Groult in My Escape, her confessional autobiography. Born in 1920 in Paris, she obtained the right to vote only when she was twenty-five years old, married four times, bore three children, underwent many clandestine abortions, became a writer after she turned forty, and a feminist in her fifties.
Groult chronicles her growth through successive phases--as an obedient little girl, a troubled adolescent, a submissive wife--until finally becoming a liberated novelist. Here she recounts her choices, her friendships, her marriages, motherhood, and her fights for women's rights. At ninety-one years old, she concludes that she has been, and still is, a happy woman--lucky to have conquered her freedoms, one by one, paying for them, delighting in them, and loving them. Sexy, chatty, and full of shrewd insight, My Escape covers her years of struggle and success--as a daughter, lover, writer, wife, mother, and reluctant socialite--and draws a portrait of the role of French women in the twentieth century.
About the Author
Benoîte Groult was born in Paris in 1920. She is a renowned and best-selling French novelist, essayist, and a founder of modern feminism. She has been a member of the jury of the Prix Femina since 1982, and in 2010 was promoted to the rank of Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur. Her autobiography My Escape is an international best seller, selling hundreds of thousands of copies in Holland and more than a million
copies in Germany.
Nichole Gleisner received her PhD in French literature from Duke University in 2011.
She has published on the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, and this is her first translation for Other Press. She currently lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut.
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