$21.00– Sold Out
The Years is a personal narrative of the period 1941 to 2006 told through the lens of memory, impressions past and present-even projections into the future-photos, books, songs, radio, television and decades of advertising, headlines, contrasted with intimate conflicts and writing notes from 6 decades of diaries.
Local dialect, words of the times, slogans, brands and names for the ever-proliferating objects, are given voice here. The voice we recognize as the author's continually dissolves and re-emerges. Ernaux makes the passage of time palpable. Time itself, inexorable, narrates its own course, consigning all other narrators to anonymity. A new kind of autobiography emerges, at once subjective and impersonal, private and collective.
On its 2008 publication in France, The Years came as a surprise. Though Ernaux had for years been hailed as a beloved, bestselling and award-winning author, The Years was in many ways a departure both an intimate memoir "written" by entire generations, and a story of generations telling a very personal story. Like the generation before hers, the narrator eschews the "I" for the "we" (or "they", or "one") as if collective life were inextricably intertwined with a private life that in her parents' generation ceased to exist. She writes of her parents' generation (and could be writing of her own book) "From a common fund of hunger and fear, everything was told in the "we" and impersonal pronouns."