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Annie Ernaux: The night of Alzheimer's

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Annie Ernaux: The night of Alzheimer's

' I have not left my night ' is a poignant story about cerebral abandonment

The human brain is also ' wrinkled ' with age

Annie Ernaux (born in Normandy in 1940) is a French novelist recently quite recognized in her country, although as far as I know little known yet among us. Cabaret Voltaire recently published his book, I have not left my night, which is certainly not a novel but a kind of dietary with shocking scenes about Alzheimer's disease suffered by mor of writer at beginning of years 80 until her Death in 1986. The title corresponds to one of last phrases with meaning that mor says.

Writing about process of neuronal destruction and psychophysical degradation that Alzheimer's entails must be in itself terrible. I do not know if this disease has produced literature which, in anor horrific case, has produced AIDS, from (for example) pages of Susan Sontag. AIDS involves not only destruction but socio-cultural problems, especially in its beginnings. It also produces Alzheimer's, which tends to cause enormous family tensions by having (almost inevitably) to take sick out of his home.

Confused with senile dementia and old-age disorders, Alzheimer's has been described little for years, outside medical circles. It was tremendous to see how a loved one stopped recognizing his surroundings and came to know no one, or himself. Hence a notable part of Mrs. Ernaux's testimonial book, published in France in 1996. Then Alzheimer's disease still seemed like a private preserve which was better not to show to light. Then (I think) book could be much more surprising than now. Because in one way or anor, we have all arrived at destructive stamp of what was being entraped.

In fact book of Ernaux (and despite its hard notes) is not only a book on disease-it has nothing of essay-but testimony of a daughter on misfortune of its mor, with which it did not always seem to get along, because maternal-filial relations usually ER complicated. At beginning of his notes-written after his visits to sick, more or less weekly-seem sad and hard. She sees her mor looking at anor old woman and says, "All women are crazy today." Then: "Everything has been invested, now it's my little girl." "I can't be his mor." And many times (it must be cleaned and even shaved): «Food, urine, shit, that mixture of smells that surprises nothing more out of elevator».

The daughter loses her soul when she sees her mor get rid of her, but little by little, while she continues to see that old that increasingly loses and is farr away from everything, she has tenderness or is born or reborn. It seems that Alzheimer transforms human being into subhuman almost, if not for tenderness. The sweet caress that seeks to be destroyed and fleeing, and sense of love- sense of what he lost or could be and was not-that daughter feels again for her mor. Compassion revives love, when everything is and seems impossible. I have said, I have not left my night is confessional literature or of self and apart from testimony teaches us suitable human nudity, here that re is so much evil modesty. Everything is terrible except compassionate love of horror.

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