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The place by Annie Ernaux : The legacy comes to light

died When her father, in 1967, Annie Ernaux immediately aware of the fact that you would write about him. She waited then, just on your first job as a teacher was 27 years old and a mother of a small son and had the strong urge to say everything there was to him, but also to say to her, "about his life and about the distance that has arisen in my youth, between him and me. A class distance, which is at the same time, but also very personal, which has no name. A kind of distanced love.“ And what Ernaux was the first to come to mind? A novel about the father, no more sober life report. However, when Writing they were overcome quickly, "disgust", the resources of the art were wrong, "a life, was the subject of necessity".

After the Failure of this novel Ernaux and needed some time to come to this realization, a long fifteen years. In 1984, the narrow father of the book "La Place appeared in the Edition Gallimard", after Ernaux had already written three other books. In Germany, it took over thirty years for the qualities and the special feature of Ernaux’ car were discovered biographical literature and, accordingly, appreciated. After in the years to Zero their books, "lose Yourself" and "A perfect passion" (subtitle: The story of an erotic fascination") in Goldmann publishing house were published, books about Ernaux' obsessive relationship with a married Russian diplomat, landed on the French writer in the women's magazine corner and in the literary Away.

you landed in the world who looked on him down

it was Only with the Translation of her 2008 book "The years", in which Ernaux your life with the events of the epoch entangled, from the fifties to the present day, made it to the Suhrkamp publishing house in 2017, also in the Wake of the hype of Didier Eribons "returning to Reims", Ernaux a larger literary audience. "The square" is now in the past year, published a new book, "The girl" is the third book by Ernaux, published in quick succession, and somehow this mixture of pace and a delayed effect to Appear congenial. Why it has taken so long to write exclusively about her father, explains Ernaux in "The place". From memory, the bar resistance, once the speech, "because it's harder for me to pick up forgotten events come to light, than to invent new ones."

This seems a little flirtatious, Yes, that sounds even after a invention, especially as Ernaux's first books auto biographer, were equally inspired if. However, the brevity of this book and the sparse, factual prose suggests that Ernaux's portrait had, in fact, very much trouble with your father, "La Place" is not easy to went. What to do with it, that the gap between him and her had opened. She began to lead a "strange, unreal life", to take an interest in literature, to be a teacher – and ended up in exactly the world, "which had looked down on him".

For the living, it is enough

in 1899, the father drove into a village in the Pays de Caux in Normandy as the son of a man born who had to from an early age in a large-scale farmers "hire". Also Ernaux's father works even until his appointment to the military serves as a servant on a farm. It will follow after the First world war, jobs in a ropery, and a large construction site in the Seine, however, he has not opened with his wife in a kind of loading bar that pays enough money to live on. Ernaux's mother works here first, alone. The family lives in the 12 000 inhabitants of the town of Yvetot, then pulls for a couple of years in a village in the vicinity of Le Havre, and finally in the fifty years from Yvetot to return.

Here, his life ends then as a worker, writes Ernaux, after their parents have once again found the business rooms, which act at the same time as Download how to be a tavern. For the living it is enough now, father and mother both work in the business, and "we had everything you need, which meant that we ate our fill (of the proof: there were four times in the week, meat from the butcher) and that it was in the kitchen and the pub, the only rooms in which we lived, hot."

you will want to get out of the proletarian Close

again and again, Annie Ernaux certain expressions and phrases of their father, their mother, so as "not to high, kursiviert" or "I work for me here is dead." She explains this approach with the literalness of this life, with a world "in which you took everything literally". And quite some luck to redeem the promise. Of misfortune, of living conditions on the edge of the existence minimum can be no question here. The Malaise is that this life is an assigned, foreign in particular.

And in the middle of a daughter who wants out, which grows in a different life in and engages many years later, is always reflective in her father's portrait. Not only that they regarded the words and phrases of their father, exactly, you and herdreht, no, she wonders, often, whether you like this book writes, only because the father and daughter had nothing more to say. Early on, different worlds collide here with each other, the gap of the different classes, in which they both move, unbridgeable.

"a novel Form of self-examination" said the publisher in a blurb, "a glowing core of the auto-fiction", which sounds arg tumbled. But in fact Ernaux's sober' prose, with no embellishments, not even a particularly compassionate, as it has just Ernaux admirer and good friend Édouard Louis with his father's book "Who killed my father" is demonstrated.

awareness of eternal debt

The historic time runs, however, the two wars, the changes after the Second world war lie with in this book. However, you have left just in the Form of wars, hardly any traces in these classes and film viewing. Ernaux has made such Entanglements only in later books more intense.

You may have read calls this Form of father's books after those of Louis and Didier Eribon (Ernaux also as a model), in the meantime, sufficiently, you know them well by now, those of society and the economic constraints of bent workers-fathers. Nevertheless, The place", even 35 years after his first appearance, a special portrait, just in the anklinge the sociological consideration of the dichotomy and strangeness of the worlds in which Ernaux and her parents are."

In the German-speaking literature, there is not the in the dimension. Working class or lower classes scarcely takes in the view, and certainly not with the instruments of sociology. The Milieu of the local contemporary literature, a preferred formation of the civil code. When Ernaux writes at the end that you got your "legacy to light", a heritage, "I leave on the threshold to the educated, bourgeois world had to go back", a consciousness of eternal guilt resonates in a sentence.

More about

"memory of a girl" by Annie Ernaux Desirable is the desire

Gerrit Bartels

Annie Ernaux: The place. From the French by Sonja Finck. Bibliothek Suhrkamp. Berlin 2019. 94 pages, 18 €.

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