The change since the 1970s was revolutionary the thought

The 82-year-old French writer Anne Erno was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2022. Selected excerpts from two of his interviews have been translated: Antione: We see that most of your images are from the 1970s, a time when we are still from another world could dream. How do you see the expression of the world up to that time and then yesterday and today?

Ani Erno: The difference is revolutionary, night and day between the 70s and now. Then the differences arose. At that time we thought we could constantly expand ourselves; We go out and experiment with one win after another; Nature is only the stage where we will dedicate ourselves with pleasure. We will tour, loot, conquer and experiment in everything, including politics. But then nature got up and talked about resource limitations and then the situation changed. I feel the hopelessness that prevails today. But there will come a time when this hope will sprout again in the desire for another victory. The attempt to see tomorrow will seem impossible, even if the future is present in the present. My desire to write arose when I was twenty. When I was twenty-two years old, I wrote a book, but it was never published. The urge to write again ten years later stems from the urge to leave my social class because of how my class has changed.

‘The Super Eight Years’ is a film or documentary about Annie Erno. Based on this excerpt from a discussion between Erno, Patrick Hedman, Zora Antion, the son of Ani Erno, and the creator of the film, David Erno-Brio:

Patrick: Your sources of writing have always been your memories and diaries. Is the work different from visual imagery or is it just an extension of what you were doing?

Ani Erno: It’s an expansion on the one hand and something else on the other. I worked with memorabilia such as books. So there is a resemblance. Another big difference is that I have to give myself up as an image subject. I start with photos and illustrations, even though I create from my diary and my thoughts. I don’t invent these things, they were already there, just different than I imagined.

Ani Erno was over 78 years old. The interview was conducted in Paris by Kim Wilshere. The interview was published in April 2019:

Q: You come from a simple poor family, your parents had a small shop, but you went to university. Edward Lewis, one of the authors whose backgrounds are working-class families, wrote about how they drifted away from the family.

Ani Erno: That rarely happened. But I was the only child in the family. My older sister died before I was born. My mother had a strong personality, she liked to read books. He pushed me forward. Yes, it has created a distance between my family and me. And this distance is the subject of my first book written 40 years ago.

Q: Your book ‘The Years’ covers six decades. Which of these periods is the most interesting, constructive and joyful for you?

Ani Erno: In terms of collective experience, from just before 1968, which can be said to be the Beatles period, up to the 1980s is the most interesting. And on a personal level, the most enlightening period for me is between the ages of 45 and 60. The time when I felt I was truly a free woman. I felt like I could do whatever I wanted. I felt good in life then, because I thought it was my time of great freedom.

Question: ‘The Years’ is the record of all the changes that have taken place in France over more than half a century. Even though you talk about the Beatles, the Iraq war, Nine-Eleven, it’s actually from a Persian perspective. Was your book received elsewhere? Were you surprised to be shortlisted for the ‘Man Booker International’ award?

Ani Erno: Yes, very surprised. However, the book was well received in Germany and Italy; Also translated into Chinese, so it has an appeal beyond a history of France. If I don’t say directly through the person’s life, it is clearly history and it is through my life and my memory. Through my feelings and memories I have tried to organize this collective history. The main character is time and the passage that entails everything, including our lives.

Q: This is certainly a sober description, you have rarely disclosed personal matters; Your family, children, marriage will not survive

Don’t be about love, it’s about sex, your writing about your mother’s Alzheimer’s, your description of your cat’s downcast eyes, your jealousy when your boyfriend gets a younger partner, and the rest is devoid of emotion.

Ani Erno: I’m not the kind of writer who deals with emotions, and ‘The Years’ isn’t about that. The goal is not to say personal things. Personal topics can be addressed by describing photos; I focused on one image for every decade, described the clothes, saw the flash of light, and placed myself in that moment. I touched my father’s death very briefly through the film, I don’t talk much about emotions with the kids either.

Q: So now?

Ani Erno: I’m getting old now. I will be 79 this year. There are some health problems and fatigue due to age. As one of the female characters at the end of Sime and Beauvais says, there is a sweet joy in leaving the long past behind. It is certainly a positive feeling when you reach that age. The final image of ‘The Years’, a woman with a granddaughter, shows a charming side of aging. For me it’s not just about the story and the subject, but also the structure.

Q: You say you are an avid reader. Which books have influenced you?

Ani Erno: It’s hard to choose. At some point in my life I read ‘The Female Hero’ by Germaine Greer, which was important to me and influenced the way I write. J. Paul Sartre’s ‘La Namie’ Sime de Bouvere’s ‘The Second Sex’; The great writer Virginia Woolf, whom I discovered in my twenties, and Judge Perry. There are a number of books that I felt after reading that I wanted to write that too.

Q: In your book you use ‘one’, ‘we’ sometimes ‘they’ (always feminine) ‘she’ but never ‘I’ or I. This is unusual even in an impersonal autobiography.

Ani Erno: When I think about my life, I can’t separate the life from childhood until now from the world I live in. My story matches what happened to us, to my generation at the time. In the autobiographical genre we talk about ourselves, and the events are the context. I want to reverse it. It is the story of events, the story of progress and the story of what has changed in the last sixty years of our personal existence; But these are transmitted through ‘us’ and ‘them’. The events in my book also belong to everyone; of History and Social Sciences.

Translation: Andalib Rashdi

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