Gili Ostfield at Bookforum:
“I have always wanted to write the sort of book that I find it impossible to talk about afterward, the sort of book that makes it impossible for me to withstand the gaze of others,” writes Annie Ernaux’s narrator near the end of her 1998 autofiction, Shame. Ernaux takes the sentiment further in the opening lines of her 2008 book, The Possession: “I have always wanted to write as if I would be gone when the book was published. To write as if I were about to die—no more judges.”
This is a thread that ties together much of Ernaux’s writing, one pulled taut by a certain anxiety about truth on one end and the endurance of a self on the other. The frank admissions that pepper her work expose the radical nature of her long writing career.