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A Man's Place: Annie Ernaux

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Narrating his slow ascent towards material comfort, Ernaux's cold observation in A Man's Place reveals the shame that haunted her father throughout his life. Nell’adolescenza, età incerta fragile e tumultuosa, più o meno tutti si vergognano dei propri genitori – almeno di uno dei due – lasciami qui per favore, non accompagnarmi davanti alla scuola, ecc.

An affecting portrait of a man whose own peasant upbringing typified the adage that a child should never be better educated than his parents.And in doing so, taking him part by part, we discover everything that made him be, parent’s parts we may even recognize, in ours. More than that, it acknowledges how much her father (and perhaps Ernaux herself) are influenced by place, and the roots they both come from. There are no emotions – rare case considering the novel is an elegy for the death of the father of the narrator (Annie? Porque esas formas de vida eran las nuestras, y casi podía considerarse felicidad, pero también lo eran las humillantes barreas de nuestra condición. Memory, its fickle nature, and the melancholy tone with which we reminisce and talk about the road not taken.

His father discovered the world through an army in Paris wherein the uniform provided a sense of equality among his companions from all over France. I have been confused with the type of relationship the author had with her father, especially in the initial part of this book. When she tells her father’s story, Annie Ernaux pictures the peasant and blue-collar social classes from 1900 to the mid-sixties. Dok je kod Handkea reč o neverici, odloženoj konsterniranosti i bezdanu koji nosi samoubistvo majke, Erno pišući o svom umrlom ocu, piše o boji jednog vremena i o sebi u njemu. As such A Man's Place is more a series of vignettes and flashbacks, combined with later insights from her own life, which add context and clarity without fabricating the details.The attraction was the intellectual reflection on the limits of writing – particularly when one tries to capture somebody else’s identity. There is a translucent quality to the way that she colours her mother’s life in the book that is dedicated to her, but her father’s life here is depicted as a packed up, boxed entity.

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