Jealousy. The rawness of this emotion perhaps cannot be compared to any other. It slices you open, and you lay bleeding – for all to see, because it is visible – that’s what this emotion ensures – to come in plain view. It is as though you are different person under its spell, and hence you are possessed – as Ernaux was when jealous of an ex-lover’s current partner.
There is no timeline in this very slim work about this emotion. And like all Ernaux’s books, this memoir feels as though it belongs to the reader – it is always that close to home (at least for me). “The Possession” made me see myself as that person in love – the one that is obsessed with the other – the one that will not let go, the one that seeks closure but is unable to find it, the one that seethes in his own agony and suffering, day after day, wanting the same for the lover that once was.
She wants him back (is it because someone else has him now?). She years. She longs. She wants. “I want to fuck you and make you forget the other woman”, she says, and you know that everything before and after doesn’t matter. Ernaux’s writing is not only lucid but also it is the story of writing this book – how she wants to pour her emotions on paper, how that is perhaps the only way she will find some comfort – she may have given up everything else in the name of love or desire, but not her writing.
Anna Moschovakis’ translation is stunning, and you can tell by every sentence and every word used in all its glory, and brevity. Ernaux’s emotions I think may not have been easy to put on paper even in the original, and for Moschovakis to translate it the way she has is commendable.
The Possession entered me through its pages, and I have a very strong feeling that it will not let go for a while now. And I also feel the same way. I also want to be the other. The one who has him. The several others who are now with my several hims.