Considered by many to be the iconic French memoirist’s defining work,The Years is a narrative of the period 1941 to 2006 told through the lens of memory, impressions past and present, cultural habits, language, photos, books, songs, radio, television, advertising and news headlines. Annie Ernaux invents a form that is subjective and impersonal, private and communal, and a new genre – the collective autobiography – in order to capture the passing of time. At the confluence of autofiction and sociology, The Years is ‘aRemembrance of Things Pastfor our age of media domination and consumerism’ (New York Times), a monumental account of twentieth-century French history as refracted through the life of one woman.
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‘The Yearsis a revolution, not only in the art of autobiography but in art itself. Annie Ernaux’s book blends memories, dreams, facts and meditations into a unique evocation of the times in which we lived, and live.’ — John Banville, author ofMrs Osmond
‘I’ve just finished Happeningby Annie Ernaux, in which she writes about her experience of unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion in 1960s France. The Years was one of my favourite reads of last year and that same rigorous clarity of vision – even when dealing with the complex or ambiguous – is just as evident here again. The experience of living simultaneously on the inside and outside of your own body is very particular to the female experience I think – and not only in relation to pregnancy but in myriad other ways too. I like the measured, unforgiving way she works her way through the logic, or illogic, of that. I find her work extraordinary.’ — Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
‘One of the best books you’ll ever read.’ — Deborah Levy, author ofHot Milk