Dear Great Book Guru, Help! This coming weekend is filled with so many fun events, among them the Sea Cliff Civic Association’s Scrooge Stroll through the Village at 2pm on Sunday starting in front of the Children’s Library, followed by the Village Holiday Lighting event at 3:45 at Clifton Park. I need a short, very short novel to read if I am to keep my 2022 resolution to read a book a week. Any suggestions? Holiday Reveler
Dear Holiday Reveler, I have just the book for you: THE POSSESSION by Annie Ernaux, the 2022 Nobel Prize winner for literature. She has written many novels, most of which are autobiographical, so the line of novel and memoir is often blurred. In this 68-page book, we are in the mind of a woman who is possessed. She has recently broken up with her lover of many years and has become obsessed with finding out about his current partner. We follow her as she google searches, spies on the woman’s workplace, and attempts to meet up with her. We come to realize this obsession is more passionate than her relationship with the former lover ever was. Jealousy certainly plays a role, but it is more than that. Ernaux captures the relentless pursuit of someone or something that embodies all previous losses - so much easier to concentrate on one thing rather than a lifetime of losses. As the narrator says in the opening sentence “I always wanted to write as if I would be gone when the book was published - to write as if I was about to die.” This embarrassment over caring so much is the book’s underlying theme and one that readers will share ….recommended!