"Here, existing together on three levels, are all the shops and payable services that a given population is likely to need: a supercenter, fashion boutiques, hair salons, a medical center and pharmacies, a daycare center, fast food restaurants, cigarette-magazine-newspaper vendors, etc. There are free restrooms, and wheelchairs on loan. (Annie Ernaux, Look at the Lights, My Love, p. 10).
"In the world of the superstore and the free-market economy, loving children means buying them as many things as possible." (p. 21).
"At the checkout, where quite a few people are waiting, a customer with a wheeled shopping basket offers me her spot. As I vigorously decline (do I look that tired? that old?), she smiles and says she knows my writing. We converse about the store, about the children, plentiful on Wednesdays. Placing my items on the conveyer belt, I think a little uneasily that she is going to look at what I’ve bought. Every item suddenly takes on loaded meaning, reveals my lifestyle. A bottle of champagne, two bottles of wine, fresh milk and organic Emmental, crustless sandwich bread, Sveltesse yogurt, kibble for spayed and neutered cats, English ginger jam. It is my turn to be observed, I am an object. (p. 46).
"I don’t see Alain Robbe-Grillet, Nathalie Sarraute, or Françoise Sagan doing their shopping in a superstore; Georges Perec yes, but I may be wrong about that." (p. 35).
"Nothing has changed since Émile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise; women are always the primary—consenting?—targets of commerce." (p. 51).
I've read a lot of books about grocery stores in the US, but never one like this which is entirely personal experiences. It's interesting but not especially original, profound, or political. I guess. I think I need to read something else to understand why this author won the Nobel.
Review © 2023 mae sander