Synopses & Reviews
The diary of one of France's most important, award-winning writers during the year she had a passionate and secret love affair with a Russian diplomat.
Getting Lost is the diary Annie Ernaux kept during the year and a half she had a secret love affair with a younger, married man, a Russian diplomat. Her novel, Simple Passion, was based on this affair, but here her writing is immediate, unfiltered. In these diaries it is 1989 and Annie is divorced with two grown sons, living outside of Paris and nearing fifty. Her lover escapes the city to see her there and Ernaux seems to survive only in expectation of these encounters, saying "his desire for me is the only thing I can be sure of." She cannot write, she trudges distractedly through her various other commitments in the world, she awaits his next call; she lives only to feel desire and for the next rendezvous. When he is gone and the desire has faded, she feels that she is a step closer to death.
Lauded for her spare prose, Ernaux here removes all artifice, her writing pared down to its most naked and vulnerable. Getting Lost is as strong a book as any that she has written, a haunting, desperate view of strong and successful woman who seduces a man only to lose herself in love and desire.
“In this entrancing work, French writer Ernaux (The Years) relives the passionate yet devastating memories of a whirlwind affair through her own diary entries….Ernaux's writing is astonishingly candid….Fans will relish every scintillating detail.” Publishers Weekly
“Getting Lost is a feverish book....it's one of those books about loneliness that, on every page, makes you feel less alone.
New York Times
“Like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, Ernaux's affair should be counted as one of the great liaisons of literature.…Her life is our inheritance.”
“Getting Lost marries the high with the low, the petty with the sacred, the cerebral with the profane, in an exhilarating descent into abject desire.”
About the Author
Annie Ernaux is the author of some twenty works of fiction and memoir, winner of the Prix Renaudot for A Man's Place, and of the Marguerite Yourcenar Prize for her body of work, and recently the winner of the International Strega Prize and the French-American Translation Prize and shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize for The Years. She is now considered by many to be France's most important literary voice.
Alison L. Strayer is a Canadian writer and translator Her work has been shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Literature and for Translation, the Grand Prix du livre de Montreal, and the Prix litteraire France-Quebec. She lives in Paris.