By reproducing a relationship with a man 30 years younger than her, the author formulates in a very short text a magnificent reflection on the writing, by speeding up his existence again by going upside down in character. The author imprisoned the critics.
The book summarized by Jérôme Garcin
Triple news for Annie Ernaux, who publishes a very short 40-page story (“Le jeune homme” on Gallimard), while a large volume of Cahiers de L’herne is dedicated to her with unpublished excerpts from her diary, letters addressed by Simone de Beauvoir, Benoîte Groult, Pierre Desproges (overwhelmed by admiration for Annie Ernaux), but also lots of texts (Dominique Blanc, Nicolas Mathieu, Jeanne Cherhal, Delphine de Vigan …), photos, after the re-release of “The Black Workshop “(at Gallimard).
A little treasure
In “The Young Man,” written in the late 1990s, Annie Ernaux recounts a relationship she had with a boy 30 years her junior. She was 54. He was a student at Rouen and devoted to her a fervor which she, she says, “had never been the subject of a lover”. “With my husband before, she writes, I felt like a girl of the people, with him, this time I was bourgeois.”
Annie Ernaux is available this time in all modes and always with the same integrity. There is also a movie “The Super 8 Years” which is being presented on Directors’ Fortnight and for which she has written the lyrics.
Olivia de Lamberterie: “a sublime book”
The editor-in-chief of the magazine Elle was particularly touched by this novel, as it is based on the very foundation of its so atypical literary character. Moreover, she believes that “it is certainly not for people who have never read Annie Ernaux because it is like a precious gem that we find and that we would like to add to the treasure chest. We have from Annie Ernaux.
We can sum it up using a very beautiful phrase, which she highlights at the beginning of the book: “If I do not write them, things have not gone to their end, they have only been lived”. It is a phrase that can be resonated with many pieces of the diary in “Les Cahiers de l’Herne”, where she explains that the reality of existence is much closer when it writes than when it lives.
Once again, her approach is incredible here, which she expresses in this young man, as when she writes about rape, about abortion, about menstruation, about social origin, which are still so many taboos at the moment … There she saw this love as a challenge for society. A feeling she has already experienced with her husband, but conversely this time, when her husband was of bourgeois origin, she of popular origin. With this young boy, she finds this transmission of what is being done, said or not. The windows overlook the Hôtel-Dieu, where she was rescued from a hemorrhage.
This text is very important because at the origin of the scripture we know so much
Arnaud Viviant pays tribute to an eminent political writer
For Arnaud, what makes this new novel so charming is the fact that the author turns things around and lives upside down what she has always said: being a class defector. For “there she is suddenly the bourgeois, she is the one who has the money, she is the one who has the symbolic, cultural power. He is 20 years old, he has nothing and she is in her little studio overlooking the hospital , where she had the abortion, but at the same time the very short text ends as she begins to write the event.
This poor boy is being used so that she can write her book after experiencing a situation contrary to the one she has always told (class defector) “.
Annie Ernaux is a real political writer!
For Nelly Kapriélan “this novel demonstrates how much the author has revolutionized literature”
The critics of Inrocks conducted a fascinating interview with the young writer Edouard Louis, who claims to be himself from Annie Ernaux’s work, which is one of the reasons why he started writing, and which also determined his writing style. It tells how the author completely revolutionized literature and broke the rules of beauty. Nelly was particularly touched by the game she plays over time to reveal who she really is :
She believes that if you do not explicitly show the world, you can not change it
I liked this mirror relationship, symmetrical to the time she evokes in her novel. “
Elisabeth Philippe welcomes “a genuine reflection on writing”
The journalist from L’Obs assesses that we really find all the elements of her literary style, distilled in a text that is no less than a formidable summary of her work, and a dizzying interview with her own authorship.
It’s amazing how she introduces in 40 pages all of her themes, everything that makes the strength of her writing!
“When she talks about this relationship with this young man, it leads her to lead a true reflection on writing. For what she is looking for is the most tangible feeling, based on these layers of time, which are superimposed on each other. By being with this young man, she rediscovers her own youth and relives her own past.
It is his most Proustian novel, this young man, which consists in bringing his past back through experience, through the body, through the flesh. It’s absolutely dizzying what she manages to doin the fact of superimposing all these different “me”, its different states, its different times, with questions that are fundamentally related to the class defector, on the relationship one has with someone who is not of our environment “.
Hear the full reviews of the book:
“The Young Man” and “Cahier” by Annie Ernaux
By Jerome Garcin
📖 READ – “The Young Man” by Annie Ernaux
► OPEN BOOK | Other works scrutinized by critics Mask and feathers can be found here.
🎧 Every Sunday at 20.00 you will find the reviews of Mask and feathers gathered around Jérôme Garcin, to talk about cinema, literature or theater.