Look at the Lights, My Love


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Annie Ernaux; Translated from the French by Alison L. Strayer

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A meditation on the big-box superstore, from 2022 Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux
For half a century, French writer Annie Ernaux has restlessly explored stories and subjects often considered unworthy of artistic reflection. In this exquisite meditation, Ernaux turns her attention to the phenomenon of the big-box superstore, a ubiquitous feature of modern life that has received scant attention in literature.
Recording her visits to a single superstore in Paris for over a year, Ernaux captures the world that exists within its massive walls. Culture, class, and capitalism converge, reinscribing the individual’s role and rank within society while absorbing individuality into the machine of mass consumerism. Through Ernaux’s eyes, the superstore emerges as a “great human meeting place, a spectacle,” a space where we come into direct contact with difference. She notes the unexpectedly intimate encounters between customers; how our collective desires are dictated by the daily, seasonal, and annual rhythms of the marketplace; and the ways that the built environment reveals the contours of gender and race in contemporary society.
With her relentless powers of observation, Annie Ernaux takes the measure of a place we thought we knew, calling us to question the experiences we overlook and to gaze more deeply into ordinary life.

Annie Ernaux is the winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature. She is the author of more than twenty books, including The Years, A Woman’s Story, A Man’s Place, Shame, and Simple Passion. Alison L. Strayer is an award-winning writer and translator.

Praise for the French edition:
“A wonderful addition to Annie Ernaux’s life writings . . . [and] a fascinating contribution to contemporary literature.”—Geneviève Alvarado, World Literature Today
“[A] beautiful book. . . . With rigor and tenderness, Annie Ernaux shows herself. . . . If she says ‘I,’ it is to hear others better. From the margins of a suburban superstore, she illuminates the heart of our lives.”—Jean Birnbaum, Le Monde
“A notebook of observations, an empathetic and political record. . . . Annie Ernaux looks around her and records the details. . . . She scrutinizes attitudes, attentive to the individual. . . . She meditates on the consumer gesture, the affluent society—its optical illusions, its dead ends.”—Nathalie Cram, Télérama
ISBN: 9780300268218
Publication Date: April 4, 2023
96 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
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