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The Night Cleaner


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About the Author

Florence Aubenas has worked as a journalist for over 20 years forLiberation and the Nouvel Observateur. She has visited warzones, police stations, courts and factories on strike in thecourse of her reporting. In 2005 she was kidnapped by insurgents inIraq and held hostage along with her interpreter, making front-pagenews worldwide. She emerged 157 says later unscathed.


"Aubenas's story is bleak because it lacks a conviction that things could be different. The story lies in the rubble - literally - of the achievements and failures of organised labour." The Guardian "The Night Cleaner records Aubenas' time among those for whom the job of supermarket cashier is 'prestigious' and a refuse collector is 'well paid' ... While 'l'exception francaise' may still mean something to those in the middle, there is little sign of it in the world documented by Aubenas. Perhaps she has hit on the exception to the exception." London Review of Books "This personal account of the unmaking of the French working class is not only great journalism, it is a true work of literature: beautifully written, intense, unforgettable." Katha Pollitt, The Nation "Follow Florence Aubenas into the armies of the night, among the invisible souls who clean up the mess we make by day, absorb her insights into the great recession and its impact on the most marginal." Beatrix Campbell, author of Wigan Pier Revisited "Too often, the impact of the global recession is reduced to general statistics. But in Florence Aubenas' provocative and passionate book it is captured in exquisite detail, emotion, and human faces. Whether in Cairo, Caen, or Wisconsin, the desperation that accompanies the soul-destroying search for work and economic stability continues to push people to the brink of their patience and dignity. What makes Aubenas' book so brilliant is that this culmination of her undercover investigation does not simply linger on their lack of hope, but also on the depth of their spirit." Nomi Prins, author of It Takes a Pillage "A vivid account of the insecurities and indignities of trying to cobble together a living from the part-time, temporary jobs of the West's postindustrial economy. The insufficient hours, abrupt layoffs, and inadequate wages Aubenas describes so clearly will be with us long after the current global recession ends." Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families "Recommended for those wanting to understand more about what it means to be on the bread line." New Times

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