An austere but poignant account from acclaimed French writer Ernaux of those ties that bind as well as separate fathers from daughters, in this companion volume to last year's A Woman's Story. Ernaux expands on personal experience to reflect universal themes of generational and class alienation, of grief at a parent's loss, and of the evanescence of memory, in what she has called an ``autobiographical narrative.'' As she describes her father's life, she comes to accept his recent death and his ``legacy with which I had to part when I entered the educated, bourgeois world.'' Her father, son of Normandy farmhands, managed to struggle up from cowherd--the lowest rung in society--to become a tenuous member of the working class. With his wife he ran a small cafe and grocery store, an increasingly marginal business as supermarkets moved in but viable enough to send his only daughter to a private school. It was a life permeated from the beginning with fear of poverty and shaped by stark prescriptions: ``The only way to escape one's parents' poverty was not to impregnate a woman''; ``You don't have ideas when you are in trade''; ``never lay oneself open to criticism--for what are people going to say?'' Her father is a man who's remembered for childhood outings to the circus and beach, but also a figure, a country man at heart, from whom she grew irrevocably away. ``Books and music are all right for you. I don't need them to live,'' he told her--yet at the end his ``greatest satisfaction, possibly even the raison d`etre of his existence, was the fact that I belonged to the world which had scorned him.'' An unsentimental portrait of a man loved as a parent, admired as an individual but, because of habits and education, heartbreakingly apart. Moving and memorable.