|My Dutch version of The years|
She is really good at observing herself, and the people around her, describing what she did and how she felt in great details, without it being boring or self-serving. She is almost clinical in het observations, and very honest.
One of her works I read and absolutely loved was also translated into English. The years describes her life, but it is not really an autobiography, because she never mentions herself.
It is more an impression of a generation and a description of life throughout the years with memories, commercials, important things that happened etc. It is mesmerising to read and absolutely original, I never read a book like this before, but it is amazing an utterly readable and fun.
It is the story of the generation that was born just around 1940 and who grew up during the fifties. Most people were poor and girls were expected to be 'good girls' although nobody ever explained what a good girl did or did not do. There mentions of the war, and political moments like the death of Stalin, but this never had an impact on your life. After that a study and getting a job, and a better life than your parents, already a bit too old for the protests of '68, but getting the hang of modern life during the seventies. Then the grim eighties with AIDS and refugees and suddenly you look at a photograph and the two grown-up men next to you are your sons and you are becoming an grandmother.
What do you remember of life, what makes an impression and what does not?
I would say the Nobel prize is utterly deserved, Annie Ernaux is an important writer and I encourage everyone to read her books, either The years or one of her other books, they are all very good.
Original French title: Les Années (2008)
Translated into English in 2018