Do What They Say or Else


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About the Author

Annie Ernaux, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in 1940 in Lillebonne, France. Her novels have won many awards and recognitions, including the 2008 Marguerite Duras Prize and the Prix Renaudot, and three of her novels have been named New York Times Notable Books. She is also the author of Things Seen (Nebraska, 2010). Christopher Beach is an independent scholar and translator who has written and edited books on both literature and film, including Claude Chabrol: Interviews. Carrie Noland is a professor of French literature and comparative literature at the University of California–Irvine and has published translations of Aimé Césaire, Éric Suchère, and Édouard Glissant.


“A powerful portrait of a searching adolescent.”—Publishers Weekly

“In this, her second published novel, Annie Ernaux writes the psycho-biology of being fifteen years old with perfect recall. Do What They Say or Else conveys the cost of upward mobility and the desire to just throw it all away. Ernaux is in perfect control of her narrator’s wildness. The result is vivid and tough.”—Chris Kraus, author of After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography

“Annie Ernaux is often celebrated for her minimalist and documentary style. Yet this second novel, very funny at times, is narrated from the perspective of a teenage girl, with a vindictive and self-deprecating tone that ranges from the colloquial to the outright vulgar. This translation is a true tour de force!”—Bruno Thibault, author of Danièle Sallenave et le don des morts

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