On infatuations – Lauren Elkin in TLS:
’ I too had had infatuations, but I’d never before considered them worthy of Literature.’
‘The different forms of the everyday, it could be said, more or less summarizes what Ernaux’s work is about. She approaches momentous occasions such as her illegal abortion, her mother’s Alzheimer’s and her parents’ deaths by breaking them down into smaller, non-dramatic units of time; she also makes room in her work for the banal everyday, diaries of time spent commuting and in supermarkets, as well as the accounts of her love affairs found in Passion simple, but also in Se Perdre (2001; Getting Lost), Mémoire de fille or her most recent book, Le Jeune Homme (2022). They are not novels, but they are also not memoirs. They are exercises in style, and in memory.’
‘But I’d like to think there was someone on the committee who also, especially, wanted to commend her for Passion simple, a book in which she describes how she used to avoid bathing after sex “until the next day, to keep his sperm inside me”. In all of Nobel prize history, I doubt that a laureate’s oeuvre has included such a sentence. If it has, I’m quite sure it will have been from the point of view of the sperm’s owner, not its recipient.
Annie Ernaux’s Nobel prize is not only a great validation of her work, but an encouragement for those of us who work in her wake, those of us embracing the body and its priorities, making space for desire in the text, refusing conventional forms of storytelling, taking the everyday as a unit of resistance and allowing writing to become a sphere for the radical renunciation of moral judgement.’
Read the article here.
Compared to the article by Sigrid Nunez in NYRB this is so mundane.
But the distinction between ‘sperm owner’ and ‘its recipient’ says a lot about how we look at the world nowadays. And I love the words ‘sperm owner’. Do you identify as a sperm owner?