Monday, December 12, 2022

the last book I ever read (Happening by Annie Ernaux, Winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature, excerpt one)

from Happening by Annie Ernaux, Winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature:

(About ten years ago I read in the newspaper Le Monde that the Singing Nun, as she was known throughout the world, had committed suicide. The article stated that after the hugely successful hit Dominique, she had come into conflict with the clergy, had eventually left the orders and moved in with a woman. Over the years she had given up singing and had sunk into oblivion. She had taken to drinking. I was deeply moved by her story. She couldn’t have imagined ever ending up that way—social misfit, alcoholic, renegade sister with homosexual proclivities. Yet this, I felt, was the woman who had held my hand as I roamed the streets of Martainville, a lost, solitary figure. We had both lost our bearings, although at different moments in time. What gave me the courage to go on living that afternoon was the voice of a woman who was to hit rock bottom and die. I passionately hoped that life had brought her some small glimmer of happiness and that, on those lonely, whisky-sodden evenings, having learned the contemporary meaning of niquer—to screw—she could tell herself that, at the end of the day, she really did screw all the other nuns.

Sœur Sourire is one of the many women I have never met, and with whom I might have very little in common, but who have always been close to my heart. Be they dead or alive, real people or fictional characters, they form an invisible chain of artists, authoresses, literary heroines and figures from my childhood. I feel that they embrace my own story.)

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