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Annie Ernaux


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I haven't read les Années but I have read, and own, la Place, which covers some of the same period of autobiographical details about her early life in Normandy and her parents' café /épicerie.

What first drew my attention to her, quite a few years ago, was her description of a visit to a...wait for it.....supermarket!

Here is a flavour:


My only "quarrel" with her is her admiration of the politician Mélenchon[:P]

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Did no one enjoy the piece I gave a link to?

I found it revealing how minutely Ernaux abserves all around her.  According to the link:  rien ne lui à échappé.

After reading about her supermarket visits, I also started to note such obvious things as there being no clock.  How many times have I tried to find a clock to look at and how many times someone in the queue for the caisse has asked me vous avez l'heure?

The sign of a great writer for me is someone who makes me look at things differently and think about what is behind the obvious.  Ernaux, with her careful observation and willingness to speak "as she finds", is what is so compelling about her writing.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I’ve now read La Place, but much too fast! I was enjoying it so much, I couldn’t stop. I’ve now started again, but much more carefully and analytically. I think it’s a book you could read time and time again and find something new every time.

I’m saving Les Années for quieter times.

Thank you, Mint.
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LOL, Angela, you are as bad as I am!  That's what I do when I get hold of a good book; I rush through it all and then have to re-read!

However, re-reading is no hardship and, at least with French books, re-reading usually rewards me with better understanding the second time around (or even the third time) and I can also pause to look up unfamiliar words or turns of phrase.

bonne lecture[:)]

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  • 3 years later...

I have brought this topic back because Annie Ernaux has just won the Nobel prize for Literature.  Very well deserved, I think, and has been coming for quite a while.

She is very readable but, should your French not be up to reading books, her works have been translated into English for a good number of years now.

So, if you are interested in accessing a slice of "real" French life (yes, dig at ALBF), this author is known for giving unvarnished insights into family and social life as she experienced it.

Happy reading!

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