This article examines complicity as an implicit theme in French writer Annie Ernaux's autobiographical book Mémoire de fille (2016). Through a series of close readings I study how Ernaux's complicity with her sexual violation at a vacation colony in France in the late 1950s is related to descriptions of complicit language and social norms specific to the context of the Algerian War. I argue that we are tempted to connect the different forms of individual and collective complicity in the book but are not provided with enough material to grasp the nature of the connection. I suggest that this tension stages complicity—what Mark Sanders articulates as the “folded-together-ness of being”—as a state of entanglement with violence that complicates conventional distinctions between individual and collective experience. I then turn to reflect on the issues my argument raises given the author's authorial project and her own use of the word “complicity” in relation to the process of interpretation. By situating my analysis with regard to Ernaux's statements and dominant interpretative approaches to her work, I acknowledge the possibilities and limitations of prioritizing the insights of Ernaux's text over her own statements about what she sees her work to be doing.

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