Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review - Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux

Bargain areas of bookstores are like treasure troves - one never knows what one will find at such a good deal. Such was the case with me when, while perusing through the $2 wall at Andover Bookstore,  I located a copy of the book Simple Passion by French author Annie Ernaux. I'd never heard of the book or even the author yet decided to give the ol' college try. After all, it was only $2.

Simple Passion is about a young female author who is involved with a married man who is only known as A. The words are of her frustrations, jealousies and moments of almost insanity as she appears to live for only A. A calls her whenever he wants to see her and the two spend a romantic night together. Then, as abruptly as he drops in her life, he is suddenly gone again for an indeterminable length of time, leaving the narrator with overwhelming feelings of depression. As much as I wanted to hate this woman for allowing herself to succumb to those feelings, I also know what it's like to be in love. Once a connection has been made, everything else slows down in the world and the thought of seeing your beloved eats away at you until they are a mere foot away from your face.

Although the book is slim and I read it within a matter of hours, this was a good introduction to Ernaux's works and her style of writing. The words here are bold and abrupt and nothing is left to the imagination. We are witness to the narrator's almost jump into madness, only to watch redemption at the 11th hour. Even when the expected occurs later in the book, Ernaux's words turn the scene into dark and surreal poetry.


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