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 collective, 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 ‘a Remembrance of Things Past for 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.
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
Dimensions: 197 x 114 mm
‘The Years is 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 of The Sea
‘One of the best books you will ever read.’ — Deborah Levy, author of Hot Milk
‘The author of one of the most important œuvres in French literature, Annie Ernaux’s work is as powerful as it is devastating, as subtle as it is seething.’ — Édouard Louis, author of The End of Eddy
‘Ravishing and almost oracular with insight, Ernaux’s prose performs an extraordinary dance between collective and intimate, “big” history and private experience. The Years is a philosophical meditation paced as a rollercoaster ride through the decades. How we spend ourselves too quickly, how we reach for meaning but evade it, how to live, how to remember – these are Ernaux’s themes. I am desperate for more.’ — Kapka Kassabova, author of Border
‘I admire the form she invented, mixing autobiography, history, sociology. The anxious interrogations on her defection, moving as she did from the dominated to the dominant classes. Her loyalty to her people, her fidelity to herself. The progressive depersonalisation of her work, culminating in the disappearance of the “I” in The Years, a book I must have read three or four times since its publication, even more impressed each time by its precision, its sweep and – I can’t think of any other word – its majesty. One of the few indisputably great books of contemporary literature.’ — Emmanuel Carrère, author of The Kingdom
‘The technique is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. She illuminates a person through the culture that poured through her; it’s about time and being situated in a certain place in history and how time and place make a person. It’s incredible.’ — Sheila Heti, author of Pure Colour
‘I find her work extraordinary.’ — Eimear McBride, author of Strange Hotel
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