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The Possession by Annie Ernaux

The Possession

by Annie Ernaux

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Quite simply truthful. It's amazing just how much personal feeling Ernaux can put across in so short a novel, astounding honesty and clarity. It also reminded me of the kinds inner turmoil that I have suffered from in the past. A wonderful book. ( )
  MartynChuzz | Feb 22, 2016 |
Time marches on. Facades are rebuilt and sometimes returned to splendor. But not always, as nothing, ever, remains the same. The pain of jealousy proven again by another to be both delicious and unnerving. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 23, 2016 |
In 62 pages of controlled, polished, very intelligent prose, Annie Ernaux recounts, in the words of her narrator, “an exercise in the abandonment of intelligence.” I say ‘recounts’ with a certain hesitation, because, as with all of Ernaux’s novels, it is unclear to what extent The Possession is autobiographical. Not that it matters.

The first-person narrator has broken off her relationship with her lover and is immediately occupied, in the double sense of both ‘preoccupied’ and ‘possessed,’ by the idea of the woman who has taken her place. Unable to extract information from the man, she becomes obsessed with uncovering the identity of his new lover. By learning about this woman, the narrator is not hoping to gain some crucial insight into herself. Rather, she is at the mercy of this double occupation, and must simply live through it, like a woman who must watch to the end a play she neither likes nor understands, but feels, against any real likelihood of success, she must decipher. As the narrator says, “In the state I was in, of uncertainty and the need to know, the most tangential clues could become brutally relevant. My talent for connecting the most disparate facts into a relation of cause and effect was prodigious.”

There is a third occupation, that of the author, Annie Ernaux, by language and the process of writing. In her earlier novel, Passion Perfect, it occurs to the narrator that writing should aim for “the impression conveyed by sexual intercourse, a feeling of anxiety and stupefaction, a suspension of moral judgement.” This seems a fitting description of the dilemma and intent of The Possession. ( )
  melnicolai | Nov 28, 2010 |
My review is in issue 3 of Belletrista:

http://belletrista.com/2010/issue3/features_5.php ( )
  kidzdoc | Jan 7, 2010 |
I like Annie Ernaux's earlier booksd like La Place and La Femme. More recently she seems to have become obsessed with cocks. In the second paragraph of this book the first thing the narrator does on waking up is `grab his cock - stiff with sleep' and in another book I am sure she lost her contact lense and found it on her lover's cock. ( )
  jon1lambert | Feb 14, 2009 |
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GENERAL & LITERARY FICTION. Born in 1940, Annie Ernaux grew up in Normandy. From 1977 to 2000, she was a professor at the Centre National d'Enseignement par Correspondance. In 1984, she won the Prix Renaudot for her book "La Place," Eight of her novels have been published in America, including "A Woman's Story," a "New York Times" Notable Book; and "A Man's Place," a "New York Times" Notable Book and a finalist for the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize. Some of her recent works include "L'vnement" (2000), "Seperdre" (2001), and "L'usage de la photo" (2005). This edition has been translated by Anna Moschovakis, who also translated "The Brasseries of Paris" (2007) by Francois Thomazeau and "The Engagement" (2007) by Georges Simenon.… (more)

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Seven Stories Press

2 editions of this book were published by Seven Stories Press.

Editions: 1583228551, 1583229809

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