The playwright certainly requires from his audience close attention and all the empathy they can muster, but otherwise no special attributes of education or intelligence are expected. To respond to Long Day’s Journey into Night all anyone needs is the experience of being a member of a family, and it is this democracy of spirit, this accessibility, which marks it out as not only a great play but a great American one.
Stage Blood: Five tempestuous years in the early life of the National Theatre
(He’s talking about Eugene O’Neill and Long Day’s Journey into Night.)
Many writers pay a debt to their parents or to the world they left behind. But by making the past a theme, Ms. Ernaux takes homage further than that.
Consider, for instance, the apparent simplicity of her language. It emerged from an aesthetic decision to have her work remain “a cut below literature.” Ms. Ernaux has written that her aversion to playing with metaphors comes from an allegiance to her parents. She doesn’t want to write in a way that is different from how the people she grew up with speak.
What Nobel Prize-Winner Annie Ernaux Understands About the Past