Ernaux alludes to a gulf between these experiences (which left such shame that it took her a lifetime to write about them) and those of young women since, whom she assumes must suffer less stigma over sex. Less perhaps, but not none. For all that A Girl’s Story is intoxicatingly specific about time and place, it is also a story that belongs to any number of selfconsciously clever girls with appetite and no nous, who must, like Ernaux, reckon with the entanglements of sexism and sexuality. But it is above all personal. In reclaiming the girl she was, Ernaux becomes her own Orpheus.